Topic 1: Domestic Rights in the Digital Age

Topic 2: International Rights in the Digital Age

 

Under-Secretary General: Simon Lindström

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Countries: Azerbaijan, China, Finland, Israel, Japan, Philippines, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United States of America

Topic 1: Domestic Rights in the Digital Age

The Digital Age has boosted freedom of expression, facilitated global debate and fostered democratic participation through innovations in improving access to information and real-time communication. However, digitalisation has also brought the capability to conduct simultaneous, invasive, targeted and broad-scale surveillance.

 

The technological platforms used by governments, enterprises and individuals; upon which global political, economic and social life are increasingly reliant; are not only vulnerable to mass surveillance, they may actually facilitate it. People daily, voluntarily, surrender information about themselves, colleagues and their relationships in return for digital access to goods, services, and information.

 

While this could be a conscious choice, the extent to which the consumers are truly aware of the trade-off is questionable. There are also more clear-cut violations like mass surveillance, data-mining, internet shutdown and more.

 

The question arises also about where and how the line should be drawn between hate speech and freedom of expression; zero rating and net neutrality; network discrimination and protection. Resolutions and legislation need to be sufficiently accessible, clear and precise so that an individual may look to the law and ascertain who is authorised, for what and under what circumstances.

 

The Special Session on domestic rights in the Digital Age will discuss the right to privacy, rights to freedom of opinion and expression, and to seek, receive and impart information; to freedom of peaceful assembly and association; and to family life. The committee is sure to provide hours of insightful, intense and passionate debate.


Topic 2: International Rights in the Digital Age

Governments have, for years, monitored and influenced local information technology platforms for their own agenda. This practice today has taken an international stage, where governments, companies and interest groups use online manipulation and disinformation tactics to influence other countries elections and consensus.

 

The practice has become significantly more widespread and technically sophisticated, with bots, propaganda producers, and fake news outlets exploiting social media and search algorithms to ensure high visibility and seamless integration with trusted content. Unlike more direct methods of censorship, such as website blocking or arrests for internet activity, online content manipulation is difficult to detect. It is also more difficult to combat, given its dispersed nature and the sheer number of people and bots employed for this purpose.

 

Such state-led interventions present a major threat to the notion of the internet as a liberating technology while permanently eroding user confidence. With everything from cyber attacks to swaying public opinion, successfully countering content manipulation and restoring trust in internet and information technology services will take time, resources, and creativity.

 

The Special Session on international rights will tackle the contemporary and unexplored subjects of the sovereignty of the member states, the people and the information technology firms that affect them.

 

(No technical knowledge needed)

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