Newsletter #43: Disorder

Newsletter #43: sent!
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Linking to: Amazon-powered police; isolating social care robots; immigration and internment; SIM cards; an alternate history of sexuality in club culture; butch Queer Eye; Chaédria LaBouvier, Sharmaine Lovegrove, Toni Morrison.

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What is at stake for human rights in the design of Internet protocols?

This article was originally published on the Kennedy School Review on May 13, 2019.

Sudanese Americans rally outside the White House in Washington, Saturday, June 8, 2019, in solidarity with Pro-democracy protests in Sudan. Image Credit: AP. From: Sudan protesters try to rekindle movement. Grapple with power outage, blocked internet and heightened security – Gulf News.

Over the last decade, political and legislative bodies have started to codify the relationship between the Internet and human rights. In 2012, the Human Rights Council (HRC) of the United Nations adopted a resolution to protect the free speech of individuals on the Internet–the first UN resolution of its kind. In 2014, a UN General Assembly resolution called on states to “respect and protect the right to privacy” in the digital age. These efforts have mostly focused on safeguarding human rights online from a legal and regulatory perspective. However, they did not consider how the development and governance of the Internet infrastructure can affect the rights of Internet users.

A critical component of this infrastructure are Internet protocols, which define the rules and conventions for communication between networks. By enabling and controlling the exchange of information at a global scale, protocols have the potential for far-reaching economic and social consequences.

This article will provide an introduction to Internet protocols, explain how their design can affect the rights of global users, and describe possible paths to a human rights enabling approach for developing and maintaining the Internet infrastructure.

Continue reading What is at stake for human rights in the design of Internet protocols?

Newsletter #42: Keep up

Newsletter #42: sent!
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Doing: I published a report with Aspiration looking at the challenges and opportunities encountered by information security practitioners supporting human rights organizations; dived into my Research Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School and learned a lot from sharing thoughts with folks from the Berkman Klein Center’ Ethical Tech Working Group and MIT; co-authored a Human Rights Review of the QUIC protocol; and I wrote an article published by the Kennedy School Review on what is at stake for human rights in the design of Internet protocols.

Linking to: how mass surveillance works in Xinjiang, China; how to repair cracks and corrupted code in our cities; custom-built VPNs against data-extracting companies; queerness and cyborgs; Katie Bouman, Nadiya Hussain, Judith Kerr and her cat Katinka.

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Newsletter #41: Traffic

Newsletter #41: sent!
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Doing: I have been invited to become a digital HKS Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, went to my first Internet Engineering Task Force meeting, joined the work of the Human Rights Protocol Considerations Research Group (and we got badges!), and learned about computer networking and cognitive capitalism at a Critical Engineering workshop.

Linking to: Capitalism-enabling software; racist face recognition; community plumbing; archiving while Black; women driving environmental activism in Appalachia; Storme DeLarverie, Tommy Pico, Sylvester, Cheryl Dunye.

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Becoming a digital HKS Harvard Kennedy School Research Fellow

I am honored to have been invited to become a digital HKS Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.

digital HKS is an initiative committed to exploring the relationship between technology, data, and the public interest. It creates a space to research how to design, build, and engage with digital technologies as they relate to civic participation, equity, governance, and accountability.

You can read more about digital HKS on its website and on Twitter @hks_digital.

Becoming a digital HKS Harvard Kennedy School Practitioner Affiliate

I am honored to announce that I will be a digital HKS Harvard Kennedy School Practitioner Affiliate for the 2017-2018 academic year.

digital HKS Practitioner Affiliates are a cohort of community builders and thought-leaders on the front lines of technology as it relates to policy, government, governance, and society.

You can read more about the program on its website and on Twitter @hks_digital.

Censoring dissent. How the mourning over activist Liu Xiaobo’s death is being erased from the internet

Liu Xiao Bo – Ai Weiwei

On July 13 2017, activist, writer and Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo passed away in government custody.

He advocated for non-violent action, participated in the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, and helped to draft and gather support for Charter 08, a call for peaceful political reform and an end to one-party rule. He spent almost a quarter of his life behind bars in China for advocating human rights and democracy.

Once the news of his death became public, one related phenomenon started to be reported. References to Liu Xiaobo, his work, and his passing were being censored on social media in China more harshly than ever before. Continue reading Censoring dissent. How the mourning over activist Liu Xiaobo’s death is being erased from the internet