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Privacy International’s submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health

Privacy International’s submitted its input to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health for her forthcoming thematic report to the Human Rights Council on the theme of: “Digital innovation, technologies and the right to health”.


  • PI’s submission addresses our ongoing concerns associated with the introduction of digital technologies in the health sector.
  • There is a need to promote and advocate for a comprehensive human rights-based approach in the design and deployment of digital health initiative.

PI welcomes the opportunity to engage once again with the mandate by submitting comments, evidence, and recommendations to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Ms. Tlaleng Mofokeng. We hope that our input will contribute to the forthcoming report, “Digital innovation, technologies and the right to health”.

Technology has contributed significantly to the planning and delivery of health information, services and care. We have seen the use of data and technology across the healthcare sector from health apps, electronic medical records, to smart supply-chain management, the use of drones for the delivery of medication, and nascent technology on automated diagnostics.

The introduction of digital technologies in the health sector have been portrayed as “a critical solution to challenges and gaps in the delivery of quality health care and essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” The WHO Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020 – 2025 presents its vision of digital health technologies “that allow people to manage their health more effectively, improve caregiver-patient communication and monitor the impact of policies on population health.”

We agree that digital technologies can potentially improve the delivery of health information, services and care. However, before the inception of any technology-assisted initiatives, there need to be open, inclusive decision-making processes and human rights assessments as to whether to deploy them in the first place in a particular setting or for a particular purpose. Once this first step has been concluded, and the deployment of such technologies is justified, then safeguards and due process guarantees need to be considered in order to identify and mitigate risks. Otherwise, the same programmes that are intended to facilitate access will amplify pre-existing shortcomings and injustice.

This submission is based on the work we have done as well as our Network of partners as we’ve monitored and responded to developments associated with the use of data and technology in the health care sector by governments and companies.


Privacy International – Submission to UNSR on right to health – Digital innovation, technologies and the right to health, November 2022.pdf


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What is Transition?

Transition is a movement of communities coming together to reimagine and rebuild our world. Here we explain what it is, why people do it, how the movement started and give you a sense of our underpinning principles and approach.

Tran • si • tion [tran – zish – uhn]

n. 1. passage from one form, state, style or place to another
2. a period of transformation.

Transition is a movement that has been growing since 2005. Community-led Transition groups are working for a low-carbon, socially just future with resilient communities, more active participation in society, and caring culture focused on supporting each other.  Their approach is based in the Transition Principles.  

In practice, they are using participatory methods to imagine the changes we need, setting up renewable energy projects, re-localising food systems, and creating community and green spaces.  They are nurturing the Inner Transition of the cultural and mindset changes that support social and environmental change.  They are sparking entrepreneurship, working with municipalities, building community connection and care, repairing and re-skilling.  Find out more about the characteristics of Transition.    

The community level of scale has huge potential to influence change and is a crucial part of developing and guiding social and economic systems toward sustainability, social justice and equity. There is an increasing recognition that top-down approaches are not sufficient alone to affect change and need to be combined with community-level responses.  

It’s an approach that has spread now to over 48 countries, in thousands of groups: in towns, villages, cities, Universities, schools.  Around the world, there are 23 Transition Hubs that support and connect Transition groups in their country/region and connect internationally.  One of the key ways Transition spreads is through telling inspiring stories, and that’s what we aim to do on this website.  We really hope you feel inspired to take part, we’d be honoured if you did.

Last updated: November 2021

“I see [Transition] as a wonderful combination of civic local engagement and a worldwide network.  In many towns throughout the world people get together, finding community, enthusiastic about the idea of together envisioning a future model for their town that will make it worth living in.  There is something out there ladies and gentlemen, I’m deeply convinced, that was set in motion already quite some time ago…”

Horst Köhler, former German president and former president of the IMF

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What is cooperation?

Everybody has heard from it, some even practice it but what is it exactly and are we humans the only ones that behave that way? Read all about it in our new Article in the Knowledge Base (Wiki).

We have high hopes for cooperation because it is the only thing that can. Success.