Dystopia is now: Digital authoritarianism and human rights in Asia

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Ambay 3., Mark Anthony 5.
Gauchan, Neha
Hasanah, Mahesti
Jaiwong, Numfon K.
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Global Campus of Human Rights
The advent of new information and communication technologies has opened up new economic opportunities, heightened the availability of information, and expanded access to education and health knowledge and services. These technologies have also provided new avenues for political, economic, social participation, and have presented new opportunities and methods for the advancement of human rights. At the same time, these same technologies can be used to violate human rights. This article queries as to how exactly states and other actors use digital authoritarianism to limit human rights. The study aims to understand what threats to human rights are presented by using new information and communication technologies. The article critically examines available literature on authoritarian practices using information and communication technologies, reports of government and intergovernmental bodies, non-governmental organisations, and various media agencies as well as by gathering first-hand data of samples of digital authoritarianism. The article argues that states and other actors practise digital authoritarianism by invading privacy, denying access to information and spreading misinformation, and limiting expression and participation, all of which violate the rights to freedom of expression, information and participation. Case studies of digital authoritarian practices are presented in the study, drawing on experiences and circumstances in several Asian countries. Key words: digital authoritarianism; authoritarian practices; human rights; Asia; information and communication technology
authoritarianism, human rights, information technology, communication technology, technological innovation
MAV Ambay III, N Gauchan, M Hasanah & NK Jaiwong ‘Dystopia is now: Digital authoritarianism and human rights in Asia’ (2019) 3 Global Campus Human Rights Journal 269-285 http://dx.doi.org/10.25330/478