Human rights, privacy rights, and technology-facilitated violence

Coombs, E. (2021). Human Rights, Privacy Rights, and Technology-Facilitated Violence. In J. Bailey, A. Flynn, & N. Henry (Eds.), The Emerald International Handbook of Technology-Facilitated Violence and Abuse (pp. 475–491). Emerald Publishing Limited.


Open Access: Yes

Notes: This paper has especially valuable contributions in two aspects. First, to note that digital violence is deeply contextual, affecting different populations in various ways—thus highlighting the need to better frame overarching power structures. Second, to outline how digital violence harms specific human rights, such as “rights to privacy, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly to name a few, as well as rights relating to freedom from violence.” In this sense, it notes the futility of differentiating ‘real violence’ and ‘online violence.’

Quotes: “While research relating to individual experiences with TFVA is crucial to understanding its shape and dimensions, it is also critical to recognize the ways in which systemic factors and patterns, such as misogyny, act as underlying societal drivers of violence.” (471)

Abstract: This chapter examines technology-facilitated violence from the perspective of international human rights law. It explores current research relating to technology-facilitated violence and then highlights the international human rights instruments that are triggered by the various forms of such violence. Ultimately, it focuses upon international human rights to privacy and to freedom from violence (especially gender-based violence) and the obligations on State and Nonstate actors to address violations of these rights. It argues that adoption of a human rights perspective on technology-facilitated violence better enables us to hold State and Nonstate actors to account in finding meaningful ways to address violence in all of its forms.

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