Oct 2019 30 – 31

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy ‘Privacy: A Gender Perspective’ Consultation

Lester Pollack Colloquium Room, 9th floor Furman Hall, Law School, 245 Sullivan Street, New York University, New York, NY 10012

Dr Anja Kovacs presented at the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy ‘Privacy: A Gender Perspective’ Consultation.

The preliminary report’s findings stated that privacy is experienced differently according to gender and compounded by race, age, socio-economic independence and other factors. Gender- differentiated impacts on privacy were found in all areas of life – health; education; recreation and social life; professional and civic life. Breaches of privacy based on gender, gender identity and expression were seen as a systemic form of denial of human rights, frequently reflecting and perpetuating unequal social, economic, cultural and political structures and norms.

The Special Rapporteur wanted feedback from stakeholders including the Member States, Human Rights Institutions, Non-governmental organisations, platform providers, individuals, civil society and researchers. As the feedback was an important input to the SRP’s final report to the Human Rights Council in March 2020.

The report and consultation were part of the work of the SRP’s Taskforce on ‘Privacy and Personality’.

The draft recommendations focused on actions needed at international, regional and domestic levels by State and Non-State actors.

The consultation explored from an international perspective:

  1. The gender issues arising in the digital era in, for example, health, surveillance, social media, and the value of privacy in addressing gender-differentiated impacts
  2. Initiatives and responses to gender-differentiated impacts on privacy
  3. Challenges needing to be addressed, and
  4. Recommendations to address gender-based differences in the right to privacy

The program topics included issues concerning privacy and data protection regulation; health impacts including the ‘body as data’ and physical autonomy; policy and legal reforms in areas such as identity documentation and expectations of privacy in public and private places; social media and gender-based violence; AI and automated decision making; responses of platform providers; and, Government initiatives.