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The Government adopts the Digital Rights Charter to articulate a reference framework to guarantee citizens' rights in the new digital age

Wednesday 14 July 2021

The text contains a set of principles and rights to guide future regulatory projects and the development of public policies in order to guarantee the protection of individual and collective rights in new digital scenarios. It therefore sets out the principles on which to base the safeguarding of fundamental rights in the digital environment.

The objective of the Charter is descriptive, prospective and assertive. Descriptive of digital contexts and scenarios that give rise to new conflicts and situations that need to be resolved; prospective by anticipating future scenarios that can already be predicted; and assertive because it revalidates and legitimises the principles, techniques and policies that should be applied in present and future digital environments and spaces.

The Digital Rights Charter also aims to strengthen citizens' rights, create certainty for society in the new digital age and increase people's confidence in the changes and disruptions brought about by new technologies.

Humanistic digital transformation

With the publication of the Digital Rights Charter, Spain is moving forwards in the promotion of humanistic digital transformation that seeks to continue placing our country in a position of international leadership in protecting citizens' rights and to actively contribute to the different initiatives and debates that are being developed at European and global levels.

This consolidates Spain's leadership in the development of a free, open and inclusive digital society, defining "fair rules" for common development and coexistence in the new digital reality, and guaranteeing the social nature of technological transformation.

In fact, the Digital Rights Charter is based on the advances already made in Spain in the recognition of digital rights, including Title X of Organic Law 3/2018 of 5 December on the Protection of Personal Data and guarantee of digital rights and the recently approved Royal Decree-law 28/2020 of 22 September on distance working.

With the adoption of the Charter, Spain meets one of the milestones set out in the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan for the second half of 2021. The Charter is also one of the ten objectives set out in the Digital Spain 2025 agenda.

Rights adapted to the digital reality

This Charter seeks to update existing rights recognised in texts such as the Declaration of Human Rights or the Spanish Constitution, and to adapt them to the new circumstances of the digital age.

Regarding rights on freedom, the text includes the right to identity in the digital environment, data protection, pseudonymisation, the right not to be traced and profiled, the right to cybersecurity, and the right to digital inheritance.

In regard to equality rights, the Charter includes the right to equality and non-discrimination in the digital environment, the right of access to the Internet and the right to universal accessibility in the digital environment.

The text also promotes the protection of minors in the digital environment so that parents or guardians ensure that minors have a balanced use of digital environments, guarantee the proper development of their personality and preserve their dignity; it also promotes access by all groups and the promotion of public policies to eliminate gaps in access to the digital environment.

The right to net neutrality, the right to freely receive truthful information, the right to citizen participation by digital means and the right to digital education are other new features of the text in the section on participation rights and shaping of the public space.

In relation to work, the Digital Rights Charter includes the right to digital disconnection, to rest and to the reconciliation of personal and family life, impact assessment in the use of algorithms or the development of optimal conditions for the creation of controlled test spaces (sandbox).

In relation to rights in specific settings, it includes new and pioneering content. This is the case of rights in the face of artificial intelligence. The text states that AI should ensure a people-centred approach and their inalienable dignity and that the right to non-discrimination should be guaranteed in the development of artificial intelligence systems.

Digital rights are also included in the use of neurotechnologies to, among other issues, guarantee the control of individual staff over their own identity, ensure confidentiality and ensure that decisions and processes based on these technologies are not conditioned by the provision of data.

The area of guarantees includes rights such as the right to administrative and judicial protection in digital environments.

Participatory process

The drafting of the Digital Rights Charter followed a participatory process, with contributions from experts in the field and advocacy associations, as well as from citizens, together with input from the private sector, service providers, and the public sector with relevant competences.

Specifically, milestones include the establishment of the Expert Group on Digital Rights and two public consultations, which received more than 250 contributions.

Non official translation