The rise of the digital society is the defining features of the 21st century, now further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Digitalization affects our lives, transforming the way we live and work together in many ways: via new means of communication and collaboration; new products shaping key service components; the role of data as driver of economic development; the automation of tasks and welfare with artificial intelligence (AI); the emergence of new business models such as platforms. Governments and regulators have a fundamental role in ensuring that digital tools be used for the benefit of societies, by limiting any negative consequences of the tech industry’s accelerated and uncontrolled developments. Yet, considerable uncertainty remains on the evolution of such transformative technologies. They pose unprecedented challenges to governments’ human rights obligations and rulemaking activity, with reference to their pacing problem, the design of the fit-for-purpose normative frameworks, the institutional and extraterritorial implications, and enforcement criteria. Digital technologies span multiple regulatory regimes and pay no regard to national or jurisdictional boundaries, creating the legal conditions for confusion and human rights risks.
by Nicoletta Dentico, Mohammed El Said, Giacomo Capuzzo, in The Routledge Handbook on Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations.