Freedom Of Thought Endangered In The 21st Century? Legal Protection From Manipulation




Freedom of thought, manipulation, ethics, human rights, national and international regulations.



The freedom of thought is stipulated as a fundamental human right in main international human rights instruments at universal and regional levels. Freedom of thought is also guaranteed at national level in constitutions of many states. It might seem that the legal regulation of freedom of thought is more declarative by its very nature: prima facie, it cannot be limited or violated in practice. Thus, one might assume that it does not need any legal protection. In this paper we argue that the rapid scientific and technological evolution urge the necessity of rethinking the legal content of the freedom of thought and elaborating mechanisms at national and international levels for its effective protection. In particular we discuss the lawfulness of manipulation as means of influencing the freedom of thought in the age of high technologies and argue that the large-scale intensive manipulation by using special big data processing tools (including artificial intelligence) with the aim to shape the information receivers’ decision-making process in order to reach a certain outcome motivated by self-interest should be viewed as unlawful interference into the freedom of thought under International Human Rights Law, consequently creating positive obligations for states.


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Author Biographies

Lilit YEREMYAN, Russian-Armenian University

Lilit  YEREMYAN (PhD) is Senior lecturer and former Head of the Chair of International Law at the Russian-Armenian University; Assistant to the President of the Republic of Armenia (on legal matters and presidential initiatives), as well as ad hoc researcher at Davit & Partners Law Firm. Areas of her academic interest include comparative law, Constitutional Law, International Human Rights Law, legal ethics, International Humanitarian Law, Public International Law.  Yeremyan is the author of one monograph and around 15 scientific articles and other publications. Recent publications: Persona Grata, professional interview titled “IHL: a view from Armenia” in Eurasian Law Journal N9 (136)2019; Topical Issues of the Law of Armed Conflicts, teaching manual, RAU publ. (2018) Yerevan; “Teaching “The Nature of Public International Law” to LL.M. students”, Scientific News N 1-2 (34-35) of the Armenian State Pedagogical University (2018) Yerevan; Challenges of Modern Wars: Topical Issues of International legal regulation of New Means of Warfare (monograph), RAU publ., (2017) Yerevan.



Davit HARUTYUNYAN (PhD) is the founding partner of Davit & Partners Law Firm; as well as Director at Luys Foundation. He has more than 20 years of professional experience and is well acknowledged in professional circles as one of the most experienced and accomplished lawyers in Armenia with rich and diverse qualifications, as well as unique insight into the legal field. His areas of academic interest include negotiations, logic, public and private law, ethics and legal compliance. Harutyunyan is the author of two monographs and more than 20 scientific articles. 


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How to Cite

YEREMYAN, L., & HARUTYUNYAN, D. (2020). Freedom Of Thought Endangered In The 21st Century? Legal Protection From Manipulation. WISDOM, 14(1), 131–147.




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