Sohail Shahzad/EFE

Emerging technologies, from artificial intelligence and automation to blockchain and gaming are providing new opportunities for activism and accountability. At the same time, rapid technological developments raise serious questions about security, privacy, democracy, and the future of work and workers’ rights. In what ways can technology be a powerful force for supporting and protecting human rights, and what are the emerging and future risks? What strategies and practices are most effective in preventing and mitigating the harms of new technologies, and in pushing governments and businesses towards responsible, accountable development?


Digital agriculture: A new frontier for data rights

By: Philip Seufert

Human rights–based governance frameworks are urgently needed to prevent data-driven exploitation, which will worsen inequalities in food and agriculture.

How to grapple with undue funder influence: Recommendations from a workshop (Part II)

By: Juan Ortiz Freuler & Ana Brandusescu & Will Orr

At Rightscon 2023, practitioners provided recommendations for mitigating the negative influence of funders on nonprofits.

Unpacking funder influence over digital rights nonprofits: Reflections from a workshop (Part I)

By: Juan Ortiz Freuler & Ana Brandusescu & Will Orr

At Rightscon 2023, practitioners discussed the complex role of autonomy, dependence, and accountability in funder–grantee relationships. In this first part, we ...

Weaponizing internet shutdowns to evade accountability for rights violations

By: Jacqueline Rowe & Saba Mah'derom

Internet shutdowns are used to quash dissent and conceal abuses. The rights community should combat this authoritarian tactic.

Human rights gateway or gatekeeper: Digital IDs on trial in Uganda

By: Katelyn Cioffi

A legal challenge to Uganda’s national digital ID system may set an important precedent for human rights enforcement in the era of digital government.

Human rights are still in demand

By: Geoff Dancy & Christopher J. Fariss

After collecting and analyzing recent search data from 109 countries in five different language groups, we found little to no evidence that people are becoming ...

When human rights turned into an AI-driven game of lottery

By: Juan Ortiz Freuler

The widespread adoption of artificial intelligence is fueling a probabilistic turn that shifts the focus from past to future, from individual to group behavior, ...

Regulation of generative AI must protect freedom of expression

By: Esha Bhandari

Any attempts to regulate the content produced by generative AI run the risk of restricting protected expression.

No easy answers to the ChatGPT regulatory puzzle

By: Matt Bartlett

Any legal framework aiming to corral generative AI systems, including frameworks grounded on protecting human rights, will need to reckon with technological nuances.

Borders and AI: Human rights–enhancing legal technologies

By: Sean Rehaag

AI does have the capacity to be used to help asylum seekers and other people on the move, despite its current uses.

Queer Eye for AI: Risks and limitations of artificial intelligence for the sexual and gender diverse community

By: Ilia Savelev

The risks of AI-powered oppression of sexual and gender diversity are already here.

ChatGPT: What’s left of the human in human rights?

By: César Rodríguez-Garavito

This new series examines the potential effects of AI in the human rights field.

Toward multiplanetary existence? The human rights obligations of corporations on Mars

By: A. Kayum Ahmed

The possibility of multiplanetary existence raises fascinating questions about the universality of the human rights framework.

Racial hatred on the rise in Tunisia: What is the role of digital platforms?

By: Salma Houerbi
Español | Français

Massive raids and attacks against Black migrants in Tunisia, triggered by a virulent online campaign, recall the urgent need for big tech to scrutinize the human ...

The trivialization of human rights

By: Ligia Bolívar

Virtual activism makes some human rights causes visible but reduces engagement on the street.

The flawed case against more-than-human rights

By: Joshua Gellers
Español | Français

Steps have been taken to widen the scope of the “human” part of human rights—and to rethink the way those more-than-human entities also impact human rights.

Small Data for sustainability: AI ethics and the environment

By: Elisa Orrù
Español | Deutsch | Italiano

Moving away from the currently prevalent Big Data mindset towards a Small Data approach would help improve the sustainability of AI systems and would additionally ...

Hollow rights victories? Dutch struggles against digital injustice

By: Victoria Adelmant & Christiaan van Veen

Algorithms calculating the probability of fraud were overwhelmingly and wrongly targeting immigrant groups.

AI and autonomous weapons arms transfers

By: Bryanna Rainwater & Lana Baydas

A lack of consensus among states regarding the regulation of AI weapons is an opportunity for rights groups to use international human rights law to push for clear ...

The 1968 United Nations debate on human rights and tech

By: Steven L. B. Jensen
Español | العربية | Français

The nexus between human rights and tech is more foundational to the evolution of the international human rights legal project than we normally think.

Funding and the digital rights nonprofit space. Experiences and recommendations (Part II)

By: Juan Ortiz Freuler & Will Orr & Ana Brandusescu

Nonprofits have to balance securing funds and staying true to their mission. How can we foster autonomy among organizations?

How do funders shape the digital rights agenda? Notes from the field (Part I)

By: Juan Ortiz Freuler & Will Orr & Ana Brandusescu

Nonprofits’ autonomy from their funders is particularly important in the digital rights space.

Lessons and consequences of the failure to regulate AI for women’s human rights

By: Ramona Vijeyarasa & José-Miguel Bello y Villarino

The current absence of adequate regulation by states to protect human rights from the deployment of AI systems is, in itself, a violation of human rights.

A tech accountability campaigner's guide to genuine change

By: Jane Chung

In constructing new paradigms, our visioning should not be limited to our definition of the problem.

A collaborative and creative step to address overly broad NDAs

By: Jordan T. Jones

Michael Kleinman of Amnesty International USA reflects on the urgency of taking action against non-disclosure agreements.

Work fully, playfully

By: Jessica Fjeld

If work life balance needs to be thrown out the window, what’s the sturdier, more supportive and humane alternative?

A language of no importance: the consequences of neglecting marginalized languages in the digital world

By: Jacqueline Rowe
Español | Kiriol

Most major platforms and services are still only available or functional in a small number of geopolitically dominant languages.

Why online discrimination against women should concern us all

By: Helena Tallmann
Español | Português

Defenders of women’s rights should look for solutions that address the root causes of online discrimination and work to change them at the societal level.

Privacy and digital identity: The case of Pakistan’s NADRA

By: Hamza Waqas & Amna Khan

Pakistan’s national ID system is failing to cater to the needs of various marginalized communities, and is a potential threat to citizens’ right to privacy.

How Kazakhstan’s control of information can turn into a regime weakness

By: Pavlina Pavlova
Español | Русский

Network interference and internet shutdowns in the Central-Asian country have become a staple method of stifling the free flow of information during politically ...

How minority languages found an unlikely ally in translation companies

By: Ofer Tirosh

Professional translation companies are becoming an unlikely partner in protecting minority languages for future generations.

When did it become illegal to defend human rights?

By: Laurel E. Fletcher & Khalid Ibrahim

In the age of the internet, online human rights activism needs to be supported—and protected—as a vital part of the cybercommunications ecosystem.

An interview with practitioners on the front lines of datafication

By: Juan Ortiz Freuler

A conversation with Grace Mutung’u on the growing adoption of digital ID in Kenya and how it is changing people’s relationship with the government.

Creating a scenario from the future

By: Juan Ortiz Freuler

This fictional scenario draws on real signals of change to construct a future scenario around the impacts of datafication on the human rights movement.

What a datafied worldview means for human rights

By: Juan Ortiz Freuler

Understanding how datafication affects the rights and interests of people, and power relationships at large, is key for an effective defense of human rights.

How emotion recognition software strengthens dictatorships and threatens democracies

By: James Jennion

Given that the idea of using emotion recognition technology as a tool of governance is an entirely flawed premise, a ban makes the most sense.

Of time and the practice of human rights in the digital age

By: Alice M. Miller

Reflecting on the internet as a constitutive site for rights work may allow us to usefully open the internet to a different kind of scrutiny.

Three ways to change our “digital future”

By: Bibbi Abruzzini & Sanaâ Nadir & Yohan Cambet
Español | Français | Italiano

The digital world needs to be shared with and understood by the public in order to define together what our “collective digital rights” are.

Adapting tech tools for human rights monitoring: lessons from Burundi

By: Vincent Ploton & Connie Moon Sehat
Español | Français

Tech tools can provide great opportunities and challenges to document human rights violations, notably in contexts of acute crisis.

Why internet freedom should be at the top of the global democracy agenda

By: Shames Abdelwahab & Mallory Knodel

The internet freedom community is best placed to navigate the balance between cybersecurity and cyber sovereignty, but it needs support from democratic countries ...

European plans to regulate internet will have major impacts on civic space at home and abroad

By: Iverna McGowan
Español | Français | Deutsch

Without inbuilt protections, the European Union's new law billed as a new constitution for the internet could inadvertently empower governments set on shrinking ...

When your oven breaks: new recipes from virtual workshops

By: Ishtar Lakhani & Lucas Paulson
Español | Français

Online spaces offer new opportunities to support creative experimentation in human rights work—but taking them seriously doesn’t have to mean being too serious.

Did they crack the code? The importance of encryption for protest movements

By: Pavlina Pavlova

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the shutdowns of online civic space ever more consequential for exercising civil and political rights, and the Belarus protests are ...

Making the [In]Visible Powerful: Leveraging Climate Visuals in Courts

By: Kelly Matheson

As visual evidence galvanizes movements around the world and provides irrefutable evidence, climate litigators have an opportunity to leverage phone, drone, and ...

Can the virtual sessions of the African Commission generate more civil society participation?

By: Japhet Biegon

The first ever virtual session, triggered by a pandemic, may have just heralded a potential future of more accessible and inclusive ACHPR sessions.

Our post-COVID future should be as much about welfare as it is about tech

By: Beatriz Botero Arcila

Surveillance thrives in unequal environments, and the pandemic has increased inequality. We need a welfare state for our digital information economy.

London refugee groups offer online services but face disparities in connectivity

By: Christa Blackmon
Français | العربية

With millions of the world’s students now facing extended learning at home, the required access to the internet—and to the right devices—is exposing drastic inequalities.

Coronavirus and the right to online political participation

By: Sam Bocetta

Making access to the internet a human right can address inequalities in access to public discourse, especially where free speech is limited.

COVID-19 exposes why access to the internet is a human right

By: Jack J. Barry
Español | Français

COVID-19 has exposed the underlying reality that not everyone has internet at home.

Systemic bias in data models is a human rights issue

By: Isabel Laura Ebert & Thorsten Busch
Español | Français

The tech industry must engage with those affected by data errors and embedded discrimination to avoid systemic bias in data models.

We need privacy and data laws to tackle this world pandemic

By: Beatriz Botero Arcila
Español | 简体中文 | Limba Română

Governments are increasingly using digital technologies and big data analytics to address the Covid-19 pandemic. These technologies can’t replace other comprehensive ...

Addressing the gender bias in artificial intelligence and automation

By: Surya Deva
Español | Français

If AI and automation are not developed and applied in a gender-responsive way, they are likely to reproduce and reinforce existing gender stereotypes and discriminatory ...

When law meets tech: moving toward rights-based AI

By: Vanja Skoric

To address the rights implications of AI, legal and human rights professionals must develop broader knowledge-building networks and increase collaboration across ...

Landmark judgment from the Netherlands on digital welfare states and human rights

By: Christiaan van Veen
Español | Français

A landmark judgement in the Netherlands shows how technology used by governments to stop welfare fraud and improve “efficiency” may be leading to unjustified exclusion, ...

Facebook’s new recipe: too much optimism, not enough human rights

By: Stefania Di Stefano
Español | Français | Italiano

Because social media platforms dominate public forums worldwide, a governance system rooted in “social values” instead of human rights may be convenient for companies, ...

When technology facilitates ICE raids that violate rights, who is responsible?

By: Jacinta Gonzalez
Español | Deutsch

Palantir has argued that its technology does not play an active role in deportations and the human rights violations that have occurred under the Trump administration, ...

Social media complicates mainstream media goals of pluralism and diversity

By: Maria Luisa Stasi & Pierre François Docquir

Freedom of expression demands and facilitates the development of pluralistic media landscapes. But as more people get personalized news feeds from social media, ...

What the “digital welfare state” really means for human rights

By: Philip Alston

The digitalization of welfare is presented as an altruistic and noble enterprise designed to ensure that citizens benefit from new technologies. In reality, it ...

Putting human rights law at the core of debates on online political campaigning

By: Kate Jones
Español | Français

To date, it’s been left to the tech companies to set limits on online political campaigning. Governments need to step in and to use human rights law as a framework ...

WhatsApp sues NSO Group: is this what it takes to hold surveillance tech to account?

By: Ana Zbona & Phil Bloomer

A lawsuit exposing the use of surveillance software to target human rights defenders shows the urgent need for better regulation.

Protecting children’s digital bodies through rights

By: Kristin Bergtora Sandvik
Español | العربية

Children are becoming the objects of a multitude of monitoring devices—what are the possible negative ramifications in low resource contexts and fragile settings?

Technology and gaming innovations bring new life to Russian NGOs

By: Tatiana Tolsteneva
Español | Русский

Russia’s non-profit sector has been playing a constant game of catch-up—can new media technologies break this pattern and appeal to younger audiences?

Why do emerging AI guidelines emphasize “ethics” over human rights?

By: Alison Berthet

It’s clear that regulation of AI must start now, but why do emerging frameworks primarily talk about ethics rather than law and human rights?

Bringing women’s voices into the “Smart City Just City” dialogue

By: Natalie Gill

Can urban planners use the technology in “Smart Cities” to create cities that are more just—and safe—for all?

Competition rules could protect human rights on social media platforms

By: Maria Luisa Stasi

Social media platforms are abusing their dominant position and exploiting users with terms of service that fail to protect their human rights. Competition rules ...

Sex robots: a human rights discourse?

By: Carlotta Rigotti

What are the human rights implications in the growing market for sex robots? Are these AI “gynoids” just harmless sex toys, or do they further marginalize women ...

Delinking the “human” from human rights: artificial intelligence and transhumanism

By: A. Kayum Ahmed
Español | isiXhosa

The development of artificial intelligence and transhumanism are challenging what it means to be human—and who (or what) constitutes the “human” in human rights.

How civil society can work to improve our technological future

By: Lincoln Ajoku
Español | Français

Given the rapid pace of change in the development and uptake of digital and emerging technologies, civil society will need to evolve, and the World Economic Forum ...

Failure to act: getting ahead of technological threats to democracy

By: Laura Rosenberger

Adversaries of democracy are deliberately targeting free speech, and democratic nations must get ahead of the technology curve in order to be proactive about these ...

Blockchain technologies offer transparency that could improve human rights practices

By: Dean Pinkert & James Ton-that & Ravi Soopramanien
Español | Français

Blockchain solutions could help companies comply with human rights due diligence in more effective and efficient ways.

Beyond Internet access: seeking knowledge justice online

By: Kira Allmann & Anasuya Sengupta
Español | العربية

Most debates around the internet and human rights focus on narrowing the digital divide and facilitating freedom of expression. But a human rights-based approach ...

Restricting cybersecurity, violating human rights: cybercrime laws in MENA region

By: Wafa Ben-Hassine & Dima Samaro
العربية | Français

Oppressive laws purporting to prevent cybercrime in the MENA region are robbing internet users of their basic human rights.

A tech solution to documenting sexual violence

By: Suzanne Kidenda & Katy Johnson
Español | Français

A simple app, developed in close co-operation with clinicians, police and other end-users, is making it easier to effectively document and prosecute sexual assault ...

Why policymakers need to tackle the digital gender gap

By: Ana Brandusescu

Tackling the digital gender gap means more than improving internet access—it means empowering women and girls to use online technology, preventing gender-based ...

How can AI amplify civic freedoms?

By: Zach Lampell & Lily Liu
العربية | 简体中文

Civil society must improve its knowledge and use of artificial intelligence in order to limit exploitation and protect and promote civic freedoms.

Identities in the crosshairs—censoring LGBTQ internet content around the world

By: Miles Kenyon, Adam Senft and Ronald Deibert
Español | العربية

A Canadian company is enabling its software to be used globally to censor access to information on LGBTQ issues, in breach of international standards.

Tech companies’ inability to control fake news exacerbates violent acts

By: Jennifer Easterday & Hana Ivanhoe

In the absence of sufficient monitoring and ameliorative action on the part of the tech companies, fake news in Sri Lanka is provoking non-violent, law-abiding ...

Communications infrastructure in Palestine has become a tool of repression

By: Who Profits Research Center
العربية | Français

Restrictions on Palestinian mobile companies mean that Israeli companies reap profits from Palestinian customers, while Israel benefits from the resulting surveillance ...

Geospatial technology—done right—can improve human rights documentation

By: Theresa Harris
Español | العربية

With private corporations now the largest providers of satellite technology, human rights practitioners need to recognize the power—and the limits—of geospatial ...

What “datafication” means for the right to development

By: Anita Gurumurthy & Deepti Bharthur
Español | Français

Breakthroughs in technology—including artificial intelligence—can help fulfill the right to development, but digital technologies are not magic bullets; there is ...

Mitigating unfair bias in artificial intelligence

By: Bernard Shen

Instead of choosing between humans-only systems and AI systems, leveraging the best of human values and ability as well as artificial intelligence promise greater ...

The corporations’ dilemma: navigating government access to information

By: Isabel Laura Ebert
Français | Deutsch

Technology can help to prevent conflict, but it can also facilitate human rights abuses, and companies that collect user data are in the middle of the debate.

New human rights principles on artificial intelligence

By: Sherif Elsayed-Ali
Español | Français

A new set of principles—the Toronto Declaration—aims to put human rights front and centre in the development and application of machine learning technologies.

Risks and responsibilities of content moderation in online platforms

By: Richard Wingfield

The issue of content moderation in online platforms has been missing in debates on business and human rights, but these platforms are critical in exercising our ...

What digital searches reveal about our engagement with rights

By: Rayyan Dabbous

Trends in Google searches show that most internet users are interested in the human rights during crises or policy changes, often due to media prompting. How do ...

Bringing justice close: an experiment in accessing justice with technology

By: Shreya Sen

Legal empowerment enables poor and marginalized communities to be partners in development and decision-making, and new technologies make it possible for women in ...

Without binding rules, AI guidelines are just wishful thinking

By: Emre Eren Korkmaz
Türkçe | Español

Many governments have released official strategies to promote AI systems leaving the public with few human rights protections.

A gender lens is critical to resolving tech-enabled abuse

By: Michelle Lau-Burke & Callie Strickland

Technology can raise awareness and spark collective action, but it can also deepen gender divides and provide platforms for harassment. How can ICT companies better ...

Embedding digital security in feminist movement building

By: Jennifer Radloff
العربية | Français | Español

Strengthening the resilience of the women’s rights movement requires feminists to place digital security firmly at the center of our engagement with the internet.

AI insights into human rights are meaningless without action

By: Samir Goswami

We need to act upon the insights that we glean from AI: technology is not a replacement for the political will needed to drive change.

The “new green”? Business and the responsible use of algorithms

By: Matthew Fenech
Español | Français

Algorithms have long aided decision-making, but as artificial intelligence gains greater autonomy, businesses need guidelines and regulations to ensure that this ...

Artificial Intelligence can be a boon for businesses, but can it protect workers?

By: Emre Eren Korkmaz
Türkçe | Español | Français

Artificial intelligence is rapidly transforming business models, but labor rights and other human rights issues are often lost amidst these quick changes. Can we ...

As artificial intelligence progresses, what does real responsibility look like?

By: Dunstan Allison-Hope & Mark Hodge
Español | Français | 日本語

Artificial intelligence is disrupting how we live, work, do business, and govern—but what mechanisms can guide responsible behavior without stifling innovation?

Apps and traps: why dating apps must do more to protect LGBTQ communities

By: Afsaneh Rigot
العربية | فارسی

Repressive states are manipulating dating apps to find and target LGBTQ individuals, and app companies must take responsibility for reducing the risks to their ...

Addressing the potential human rights risks of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”

By: Phil Bloomer & Christen Dobson
Español | Deutsch

Technology has the power to free us from drudgery or to decimate livelihoods, and the choices that governments and companies make will often determine the difference.

FIFA 2018: digital rights are (finally) playable

By: Peter Micek

Mega events like the Olympics and the World Cup are bringing digital rights concerns under increased scrutiny.

DNA testing can help – and hinder – sexual violence prosecutions

By: Karen Naimer
Español | Français

DNA technology in sexual violence cases can strengthen investigations and prosecutions, but training on how to collect and preserve evidence is equally important ...

To strengthen digital security for human rights defenders, behavior matters

By: Michael Caster
简体中文 | Español

When approaching digital security for human rights defenders in hostile environments, we need to think more about practical behavior.

Ethics, technology and human rights: navigating new roads

By: Danna Ingleton

When we incorporate new technologies into human rights work, we need to be acutely aware of agency, participation and consent.

The fine print: seeing beyond the hype in technology for human rights

By: Zara Rahman

With all the hype about new technologies for human rights, activists must think critically and strategically.

Beyond science fiction: Artificial Intelligence and human rights

By: Jonathan Drake

Artificial Intelligence is growing at rapid pace, and so are significant ethical and human rights dilemmas.

Will technology transform the human rights movement?

By: Iain Levine

Even as technological developments threaten human rights, they create new opportunities for activism. But there are risks, suggesting a ‘do no harm’ approach to ...

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