Digitalization and New Technologies

Are new means and methods of warfare compatible with existing international humanitarian law (IHL) rules? What challenges do big data and artificial intelligence (AI) pause to human rights? How to ensure the right to privacy and protection of the private sphere in times of war and peace?

New technologies, digitalization, and big data are reshaping our societies and the way they organize. While technological advancements present tremendous opportunities and promises, rapid developments in AI, automation or robotics raise a series of questions about their impact in times of peace and war.

Our research in this domain explores whether these new developments are compatible with existing rules and whether international human rights law and IHL continue to provide the level of protection they are meant to ensure.


Past projects


Human Rights in the Digital Age

Completed in June 2020

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Autonomous Weapon Systems under International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law

Completed in May 2017

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The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age

Completed in May 2016

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Non-Kinetic-Energy Weapons

Completed in December 2011

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Related News and Events

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Experts Discuss Smart Cities and the Protection of Citizen’s Right to Privacy

18 May 2021

The Geneva Human Rights Platform and the Geneva Cities Hub hosted an online panel to discuss privacy in the context of cities’ increased digitalization. Attended by municipal authorities and communities from around the globe interested in learning more about the privacy challenges related to the digitalization of cities, it brought together a diverse panel with in-depth experience in smart cities projects.

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Bridging Governance Gaps in the Age of Technology: A Discussion on the State Duty to Protect

11 March 2021

An online expert consultation co-organized with the UN Human Rights’ B-Tech Project discussed regulatory and policy responses to human rights challenges linked to digital technologies.

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Experts Discuss the Humanitarian and Societal Impact of Military Cyber Operations

1 March 2021

At an online workshop – one of the first steps of a research project on the humanitarian consequences and protection needs caused by the digitalization of armed conflicts – cyber experts discussed the humanitarian and societal impact of military cyber operations.

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