News – 25 september 2019

Contribution to the UN HLP Report on digital cooperation - Draft of a UN Convention on Internet

Introduction and Executive Summary

Due to the powers vested in its Charter and its unique international character, the United Nations can take action on the issues confronting humanity in the 21st century, including protect human rights, promote sustainable development and uphold international law.[1]

In July 2018 the Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. António Guterres appointed the High level panel on digital cooperation to consider the question of “digital cooperation” – the ways we work together to address the social, ethical, legal and economic impact of digital technologies in order to maximise their benefits and minimise their harm. In particular, the Secretary-General asked the Panel to consider how digital cooperation can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the ambitious agenda to protect people and the planet endorsed by 193 UN member states in 2015. He also asked the Panel to consider models of digital cooperation to advance the debate surrounding governance in the digital sphere[2].

In 2018, the United Nations Secretary-General cautioned about the negative use of internet that has emerged. It has to be addressed and overcome. Discussions on internet governance cannot just remain discussions. United Nations Secretary-General stressed that policy, and relevant normative frameworks, must be developed to ensure impact. We cannot leave our fate in the digital era to the invisible hand of market forces.[3] As published by the United Nations, global cooperation and regulation key in addressing multilayered threats posed by new technology. [4]

The thirteenth UN Internet Governance Forum held in 2018 grappled with curbing Internet abuses. Representatives from a broad range of interests, from governments to technology companies, focused on efforts to overcome many of the abuses of the internet. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres issued calls for bolstering policies to contain malicious use of transformative technologies.[5]

As published by the United Nations, at the UN Internet Governance Forum, there was a consensus on the application of Rule of Law and UN Charter to make cyberspace safe, combating dangerous content in the digital age. Views expressed at UN Internet Governance Forum suggested global internet challenges can only be confronted by strengthened international cooperation.[6]

Based on consultations across the UN system, United Nations Secretary-General has identified Principle 1 Protect and promoted global values to guide UN engagement with new technologies: UN work must be anchored in the values and obligations of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[7]

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) published a report on Child safety online: Global challenges and strategies[8] and Guidelines for industry on Child online protection.[9]

In an open letter to the world’s children, Mrs. Fore UNICEF Executive Director emphasized that she is worried for the future of children because their digital footprint must be protected. More than 1 in 3 children globally are thought to be regular users of the internet. More action to protect children from bullying and exposure to harmful content is certainly needed.[10]

The children might be the least trusting generation of citizens ever. A United Kingdom Parliament-backed Commission on Fake News, found that only a quarter of the children reading online news actually trust the sources they are reading and also found that just 2 per cent of children and young people in the United Kingdom have the critical literacy skills they need to tell if a news story is real or fake. Worryingly, almost two thirds of teachers said they believe fake news is harming children’s well-being by increasing levels of anxiety and skewing children’s’ world view. And a study in the United States on schools from 12 states of the United States assessing ‘civic online reasoning’ or the ability to judge the credibility of online information found that when evaluating information on social media, children and young people are easily duped.

As published by the United Nations, the UNICEF said, in its State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World[11] that Governments and the private sector have not kept up with the game-changing pace of digital technologies, exposing children to new risks and harms.[12]

The UNICEF report also examined how the internet increases children’s vulnerability to risks and harms, including by misusing their private information and accessing harmful content.

The UNICEF report presented current data and analysis about children’s online usage; the impact of digital technology on their wellbeing; digital “addiction” and the possible effect of screen time on brain development.

In Section 3 of its report and its recommendations, the High-Level Panel on digital cooperation addressed some dangers of the Internet, especially for children, and the violations of UN human rights conventions arising from the harm caused by digital technologies.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations asked to consider the question of “digital cooperation” – the ways we work together to address the social, ethical, legal and economic impact of digital technologies in order to minimise their harm.

In his contribution, Rabbi Shalom Arush, Head of "Chut Shel Chessed" institutions analyzes the dangers of the Internet, according to multi-disciplinary approaches (psychological, medical, social and economic), based, inter alia, on academic research (Section 1).

Internet addiction is a global problem that transcends culture, race, age, and gender.[13]

According to academic research, Internet addiction disorder (IAD) results in personal, family, and occupational problems that have been documented in established addictions such as pathological gambling, eating disorders, and alcoholism. Marriages, parent-child relationships, and close friendships were also noted to be poorly disrupted by excessive use of the Internet. Students experienced significant academic problems which eventually resulted in poor grades, academic probation, and even expulsion from the university.[14]

Internet addiction disorder ruins lives by causing neurological complications, psychological disturbances, and social problems.[15] Fostering internet addiction causes divorce and destroys families.[16]

As published by Stanford Graduate School of Business, the short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that social media have created are destroying how society works: no civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.[17]

As Rabbi Arush explained in The Universal Garden of Emuna, an international best-seller which was translated in English, French, Spanish, Russian, German and Dutch, debauchery destroys the brain. Lust and promiscuity, explains Rabbi Nachman of Breslev, lead to a breakdown of logic, common sense and even insanity. The proof is that in this decadent age, so many people need psychiatric medication, whereas millions suffer from anxiety and depression.

The eyes are the first offender. The heart lusts what the eye sees. All the people who are out of their minds, fell into the difficult disease of looking at women and all kinds of dirty newspapers and filthy movies on the Internet, on the iPhone, Facebook, etc., to the point of burning lust in real madness.

Debauchery on the Internet causes the loss of joy in life and destroys a person's wisdom and sound judgment. Genuine success will elude him. Married people who fail to guard their eyes suffer from their wives and are prone to divorce. One's income suffers. He lies to himself and lies to others. It destroys a person's sense of justice and loyalty, to the extent that he'll neglect and even destroy his own wife and children in the most selfish and heartless manner just to satisfy his lust.[18]

Internet gaming has been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a disease in the International Classification of Diseases 11 (ICD).[19]

We explained in The Universal Garden of Emuna that gambling is a terrible sickness, even more addictive than alcohol, tobacco and drugs. The lust for money is the root cause of gambling affliction, which not only drives a person insane, but makes him or her forget the Creator, truth and emuna in His Divine providence, Heaven forbid.[20]

In truth, money derived from gambling is like stolen money, for it hasn't been relinquished willfully. The gambler is cruel to his family. The gambler thrives on the suffering of others. The owners and operators of gambling parlors are outright murderers.

The conclusion we must arrive at is that a person who believes in the Almighty avoids even the slightest contact with gambling.

The Secretary-General asked to consider how digital cooperation can contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In Section 2 of his contribution, Rabbi Arush shows that fostering Internet addiction is a considerable obstacle to the implementation of UN Sustainable Development Goals : SDG 3 Good Health and Well-being, SDG 4 Quality Education, SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 12 Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations asked to address the legal impact of digital technologies in order to minimize their harm.

In Section 3, Rabbi Arush shows that fostering Internet addiction is a disastrous violation of the UN and International Declarations and Conventions on Human Rights, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In Section 4, Rabbi Arush analyzes legal tools which are being implemented in international organizations, the USA, China, Israel, Germany and the Republic of Korea against fostering internet addiction.

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stressed that policy, and relevant normative frameworks, must be developed to ensure impact.

At the UN Internet Governance Forum in 2018, there was a consensus on the application of Rule of Law and UN Charter to make cyberspace safe, combating dangerous content in the digital age.

In Section 5, Rabbi Arush suggests a draft of a UN Convention against Fostering Internet Addiction.


[2] Executive Summary of the Report of the High-Level Panel on digital cooperation











[13] The Evolution of Internet Addiction Disorder, Kimberly Young in C. Montag and M. Reuter (eds.) (2015), Internet Addiction, Studies in Neuroscience, Psychology and Behavioral Economics)

[14] Internet addiction: the emergence of a new clinical disorder by Dr. Kimberly S. Young, Cyber Psychology and Behavior, Vol. 1 No. 3., pages 237-244

[15] Internet Addiction: A Brief Summary of Research and Practice Hilarie Cash, Cosette D. Rae, Ann H. Steel and Alexander Winkler Current Psychiatry Reviews, 2012, 8, 292-298

[16] Electronic Adultery, Dovber HaLevi, Breslev Israel website

[17] Bill Snyder (2017), Chamath Palihapitiya (former Facebook Vice-President): Why Failing Fast Fails, Insights by Stanford Business, Stanford Graduate School of Business

[18] The Universal Garden of Emuna (Hebrew edition), Rabbi Shalom Arush, pages 164-167


[20] The Universal Garden of Emuna (English edition), Rabbi Shalom Arush, pages 182-186

Convention 1
Convention 2
Convention 3
Convention 4

The Universal Garden of Emuna

Author: Rabbi Shalom Arush

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