Introduction: A Question of Balance

  • Susan Perry
  • Claudia Roda


This book explores the application of a human rights framework to the roll-out and use of digital technologies. The connection between two distinct disciplines—law and technology—allows us to understand more fully the dense, multidimensional nature of the digital revolution and how we are going to live with it. When we speak of digital technology, our focus is often prohibitively narrow; taking our cues from scientific research models, we examine the parts rather than the whole, inadvertently isolating hardware from software, the technological frameworks from their actual use, or the costs of the digital revolution from the benefits. The existing body of international human rights treaty law requires a balancing of fundamental rights and freedoms,1 an exercise which, when applied to technology, encourages us to evaluate and prioritize in a more ethical fashion the ways in which we use the machines that surround us. We define technology both as science and in its original sense, tekhnologia, meaning the study of art, skill and craft. We acknowledge that human rights serves both a moral and legal purpose, one in which the normative development of individual and collective rights is often contested, despite the broad, enabling language of many of the international and domestic legal texts.2 Thus, while it is somewhat risky to predict the outcome of any revolution, our application of a multidisciplinary approach allows us to highlight several of the most challenging aspects of the digital transition and to engage in thoughtful reflection on how to find balance between technological advances and citizens’ rights.


United Nations Digital Technology International Criminal Court International Criminal Blended Learning 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Perry
    • 1
  • Claudia Roda
    • 1
  1. 1.American University of ParisParisFrance

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