Disruptive Technologies and Rights-Based Resilience

Started in July 2021

Context

Disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and advanced robotics pose significant societal challenges and specific threats in the area of human rights. For example, they can be used to exacerbate ethnic conflict, fuel hate speech, undermine democratic processes, facilitate state surveillance, and perpetuate discriminatory narratives and practices. Better regulating these fast-paced technological advances requires placing international human rights law (IHRL) at the centre of regulatory and policy frameworks.

However, two main problems persist: (1) IHRL is not always sufficiently built into these regulatory and policy frameworks as many initiatives refer only to ethics, not law; (2) most stakeholders tend to operate in silos, without overall coordination between industry, policymakers, academia, and civil society. As a result, digital technologies carry on causing disruption, stresses and potential shocks to socio-political systems, and the protection of human rights.

Objectives

This project will facilitate a multistakeholder consultative process to identify knowledge gaps, generate new evidence and co-design evidence-based tools to support regulatory and policy responses to human rights challenges linked to digital technologies.

The project will contribute to the Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) B-Tech Project's goal to advance the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in the technology space. In particular, the collaboration will investigate ways to promote human rights-based societal resilience in the face of ever-evolving disruptive technologies.

Donor and Partner

This project – funded by the Geneva Science-Policy Interface – is carried out in partnership with OHCHR’s B-Tech Project, which provides authoritative guidance and resources for implementing the UNGPs in the technology space.

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NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Smartphone screen News

Aligning Regulations of Business Conduct in the Technology Sector with Human Rights

29 April 2022

A new Research Brief on Regulating Business Conduct in the Technology Sector: Gaps and Ways Forward in Applying the UNGPs depicts the prominent gaps in regulatory approaches to business conduct in the technology sector with regard to the UNGPs.

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A presentation on big data News

Placing Human Rights at the Centre of New Tech Regulations

14 March 2022

At a multi-stakeholder consultation, business, academia, civil society and state representatives discussed the gaps and ways forward in applying the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to regulate business conduct in the technology sector.

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Placing Human Rights at the Centre of Regulatory Frameworks and Legislation on Online Harm

18 January 2022

In light of concerns about the dissemination of illegal content, disinformation and misinformation via online platforms and social media, our new  Working Paper Regulatory Approaches to Online Harms and Human Rights: Three Case Studies discusses how to best place human rights at the centre of regulatory frameworks and legislation on online harms.

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RESEARCHERS

Picture of Ana Beduschi

Ana Beduschi

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Ana Beduschi is a Professor of Law at the University of Exeter and Senior Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy. Her research and teaching focus on international human rights law, technology, digital law, data protection and privacy, and international migration and refugee law.

Publications

Cover of the publication

Regulating business conduct in the technology sector gaps and ways forward in applying the UNGPs

April 2022

Ana Beduschi, Isabel Ebert

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover of the publication

Regulatory Approaches to Online Harms and Human Rights: Three Case Studies

January 2022

Ana Beduschi

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover of the publication

The relevance of the Smart Mix of Measures for Artificial Intelligence - Assessing the Role of Regulation and the Need for Stronger Policy Coherence

September 2021

Ana Beduschi, Dr Isabel Ebert

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover of the publication

Human Rights and the Governance of Artificial Intelligence

March 2020

Ana Beduschi

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Past Events

Building Blocks for Tech Regulation – A Business and Human Rights Approach

30 November 2021, 10:25-11:40

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