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Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence: Analyzing the Impact of Technology on the Right to Privacy


Human rights have been significantly impacted by the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The right to privacy, highly regarded worldwide, has been increasingly restricted due to the use of new technologies. AI programs collect user data through various methods, such as web scraping (an automated technique for extracting large amounts of information), Application Programming Interfaces (APIs that allow structured data collection from online services), forms and surveys (directly collected from users), user interactions, and sensor data (information collected by sensors in devices, such as temperature, location, and movements). These data are then stored, allowing access to this information. This shift raises questions about the right to privacy for users of such technologies. 

This article aims to analyze the impacts of technology on human rights, particularly the right to privacy, and suggests ways to reconcile the right to privacy with technological advancement. 

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 2 that "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home, or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks." Similarly, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights asserts in Article 17 that "1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home, or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honor and reputation." and "2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks." 

The illegal collection of data by AI tools has led some European countries and Canada to take legal action against OpenAI, a technology company, for collecting personal information and subsequently using it, in violation of the European Data Protection Regime. 

Such cases are becoming increasingly common, prompting legal professionals to question the abuse of new technologies. While technological advancement is crucial, the right to privacy is an essential human right that must be respected by any technological tools and their creators. Given this dilemma, the question arises: how can we balance both? 

The answer to this question should be based on the analysis of the following elements: 

  • Establishment of Ethical Criteria: Data protection laws should establish ethical criteria for the use of technological tools, such as transparency in policies and informed consent. 

  • Discussions on Legal Challenges in AI Regulation: Legal professionals should engage in discussions about the challenges posed by technological tools and data protection, given that the right to privacy is a fundamental human right. 

  • Mitigation of Impacts: Efforts should be made to mitigate the impacts of privacy invasion by technological tools to preserve the right to privacy. 

  • Balancing Values: The degree of invasion of an individual's privacy should not exceed what is necessary for them to benefit from the tool used. 

  • Government Participation in Data Protection Policy Implementation: States should strive to protect their citizens' data. 

  • Feeding AI with Ethical Standards: AI should be programmed to learn ethical standards that respect user privacy, just as humans can learn ethical behavior. 


As highlighted in this article, there are many challenges in regulating Artificial Intelligence and Data Protection. However, it is urgent to establish international agreements and treaties and to create legislation that regulates data protection to ensure that the human right to privacy is respected in its entirety, avoiding unnecessary setbacks.  By: Maristela Oliveira Esq, Attorney at Maristela Oliveira Advocacia


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