On the occasion of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, which is celebrated on 17 May and this year focuses on digital technologies for older persons, Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina calls on those responsible to pay special attention in the digitisation of society to fair access to digital technologies for all citizens without discrimination, particularly older people and disabled persons and the protection of privacy.
"With increasing digitalisation further accelerated by the pandemic, numerous everyday activities, such as shopping, medical consultations, paying of bills, banking, etc. have been converted into digital form. This causes distress to less digitally literate citizens, as they are not skilled at using modern technologies or feel unsafe on the Internet. Many people contact the Human Rights Ombudsman electronically when experiencing hardships or when they have questions, but as not everyone is capable of this, the Ombudsman is also accessible in person and via telephone. All information about how and when to contact the Human Rights Ombudsman is also accessible in digital and printed form," explains Ombudsman Svetina.
The Ombudsman expects the new government to particularly address the challenges in ongoing digitalisation that prevent older people from accessing new technologies easily. "We expect the competent ministry to ensure a selection of measures for the better digital literacy of society and provide digital education to older people. In doing so, intergenerational assistance is especially valuable and important, as younger generations can be very helpful to the digitally less literate older generations," believes the Human Rights Ombudsman.
To establish a more inclusive digital future and safer use of the Internet for everyone, Ombudsman Svetina further emphasises that the competent authorities must adopt measures to protect Internet users and raise awareness in society regarding a multitude of misleading content and fake news on the Internet. It is also necessary to adopt suitable measures to prevent an increasing incidence of cyber attacks, hate speech on the Internet and social networks, and excessive and unacceptable invasions of privacy.