New and emerging digital technologies continue to cause or contribute toward significant change in the transformation of society, and can, therefore, constitute powerful tools in their capacity to make significant positive contributions to the promotion and protection of human rights. At the same time, these rapid developments also raise serious questions as to the potential risks posed by negative impacts on human rights, and how appropriate responses to the challenges can be undertaken.
This research project examines and appraises the impact of innovation and the development of new information technologies on human rights. In particular, the analysis probes how this rapid transformation is impacting democracy and our different communities’ enjoyment of fundamental rights. The transformation is proving especially important for both marginalized and vulnerable populations, who have frequently been excluded from the discourse, but for whom the reach and scale of the Internet can now afford greater efficiencies and impact.
The research also assesses the extent to which the existing legal framework at the international level can continue to ensure the appropriate level of regulation, particularly in the face of ever-changing innovation.
The research team has been providing assistance to the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Clément Voule, with his work in preparing his thematic report to the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC).
The report, to be presented to the HRC on June 25th, focuses on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the digital age — and outlines how new and emerging technologies playing a progressively decisive role in influencing civic engagement.
Further Research on Online Platforms
Given the scale and impact of the changes taking place and the challenges they present to the promotion and protection of human rights, the project also envisages conducting further analysis into the transformation of online platforms (such as social media networks, payment and trading applications) across jurisdictions that act as conduits for an increasingly diverse array of peer-to-peer interactions.
The research will notably address the implications for both regulatory and rights-based frameworks in global governance; the concerns relating to discrimination and bias in intermediaries influencing group formation; content moderation, and the provision of financial services impacting social welfare.