The omnipresence of digital technology is already having a marked effect on our lives, but the full implications of artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things are murky. Are we still exercising freedom of thought when our personal data is combined with facial recognition technology and used to predict our behaviour or influence our decisions?
How will 'predictive policing' affect freedom of movement and expression? What will happen when we can use algorithms to construct videos to show that anything has happened, regardless of whether it has or not? How are people who belong to minority groups affected by digital technology designed and regulated by majority groups from the global north? How is gender, ethnicity and age used to differentiate, discriminate, exclude and marginalise participation in digital spaces? Can governments effectively regulate tech companies that only seem to operate to maximise shareholder value?
Keynote remarks were made by Dunja Mijatović (Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe), followed by a lively discussion with Nani Jansen Reventlow (Digital Freedom Fund) and Samantha Bradshaw (University of Oxford), chaired by Başak Çalı (Hertie School of Governance) on technology and the next frontier in human rights, and how to ensure that our digital society is inclusive and equipped to deal with the future challenges of technology.
Dunja Mijatović is the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. She has been working to promote and protect human rights for the past two decades, thus acquiring extensive knowledge in the field of international monitoring, in particular as it regards freedom of expression, digital and press freedoms. She is Former OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (2010-2017), she is a renowned human rights lecturer and has been awarded several prizes for her work.
Samantha Bradshaw is a D.Phil. candidate at the Oxford Internet Institute and works on the Computational Propaganda Project as a core member of the research team. She is also a senior fellow at the Canadian International Council contributing to the cyber security research stream. Her work has been featured in the Washington Post, Bloomberg, and the Financial Times.
Nani Jansen Reventlow is the founding Director of the Digital Freedom Fund. She is a recognised international lawyer and expert in human rights litigation responsible for groundbreaking freedom of expression cases across several national and international jurisdictions. She is also an Associate Tenant at Doughty Street Chambers and an Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University where she was a 2016-2017 Fellow.
Başak Çalı is Professor of International Law at the Hertie School of Governance and Director of the Center for Global Public Law at Koç University, Istanbul. Her research interests are international law, human rights law, and the prospects of global public law in a multi-level legal order. Çali is the Secretary General of the European Society of International Law, Editor-in-Chief of Oxford University Press United Nations Human Rights Case-Law Reports, a Fellow of the Human Rights Centre of the University of Essex and a Senior Research Fellow at the Pluricourts Centre at the University of Oslo.