The Rights to Privacy and Data Protection in Times of Armed Conflict

Contemporary warfare yields a profound impact on the rights to privacy and data protection. Technological advances in the fields of electronic surveillance, predictive algorithms, big data analytics, user-generated evidence, artificial intelligence, cloud storage, facial recognition, and cryptography are redefining the scope, nature, and contours of military operations. Yet, international humanitarian law offers very few, if any, lex specialis rules for the lawful processing, analysis, dissemination, and retention of personal information. This edited anthology offers a pioneering account of the current and potential future application of digital rights in armed conflict.

In Part I Mary Ellen O’Connell, Tal Mimran and Yuval Shany, Laurie Blank and Eric Talbot Jensen, Jacqueline Van De Velde, Omar Yousef Shehabi and Emily Crawford explore how various IHL regimes, ranging from the rules regarding the protection of property to these regulating the treatment of POWs,  protect the rights to digital privacy and data protection.

Part II, which contains contributions by Leah West, Eliza Watt and Tara Davenport, and concentrates on the extent to which specific technological tools and solutions, such as facial recognition, drone surveillance and underwater cables.

Part III of this collection examines the obligations of militaries and humanitarian organizations when it comes to the protection of digital rights. Tim Cochrane focuses on military data subject access rights, Deborah Housen-Couriel explores data protection in multinational military operations, and Asaf Lubin expounds the role of ICRC as a data controller in the context of humanitarian action.

In Part IV Kristina Hellwig, Yaël Ronen and Amir Cahane focus on digital rights in the post bellum phase. This part takes a closer look at the role of the right to privacy in the investigation and prosecution of international crimes, the ‘right to be forgotten’ in cases concerning information about international crimes and the protection of the digital identities of individuals caught up in humanitarian disasters.

The anthology is edited by Dr Asaf Lubin and Dr Russell Buchan, the research project is led by Ms Ann Väljataga from CCDCOE’s law branch.



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