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Statement by Ambassador Schulz at the Side Event “Artificial Intelligence: Impacts on Freedom of Expression and Privacy” - October 23, 2018

23.10.2018 - Press release

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Welcome to the German House.

Thank you especially to the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Mr David Kaye, for joining us this morning.

I would also like to thank the organizers of this event: Article 19 and Privacy International.

We are happy to be hosting it together with Brazil.

As many of you know, we run an initiative in the General Assembly together on the right to privacy in the digital age, which is grounded in our strong belief in Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

To quote from the Covenant: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy”.

For me personally, privacy is one of the more intellectually exciting human rights because it speaks to the inevitable tension between an individual and the State. To what extent does the State need to invade our privacy in order to function?

In my view, all executive functions that a State exercises are in some way related to the human right to privacy.

In the end, we usually voluntarily surrender some of our privacy to receive something in return from the State – such as security, social services, healthcare, etc.

It is this tension that Brazil and Germany have now for a number of years set out to explore with a particular focus on the digital world.

In our view, it is important that multilateral bodies such as the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly pronounce themselves on this question and to reflect State practice.

Two years ago we also started considering the specific impact the human right to privacy has on the State regulation of private companies and their data protection practices.

For this year, we are currently in the process of drafting the updated resolution. In it, we would like to encourage stakeholders, including the Human Rights Council, to look at the relationship between artificial intelligence and the right to privacy.

We believe that artificial intelligence is a frontier issue for the protection and promotion of human rights, including the right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression.

The UN should be at the forefront of dealing with such challenges that can only be overcome by working together, multilaterally and on a global level.

That is why we are particularly looking forward to the discussion today and hope to be taking away some ideas for our negotiations in the General Assembly.

I hand over to my partner from Brazil.

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