The governance of the Internet infrastructure is collectively enacted by the design of technology, the policies of companies, the administrative functions of global standard-setting organizations, national laws and international agreements.
A critical component of this infrastructure are Internet standards, which can affect fundamental rights such as privacy, security, anonymity, freedom of expression and information. Decision-making about the Internet infrastructure is a matter of social policy. To advance the protection of human rights online, there is an urgent need for civil society to get further involved in technical discussions, and for the broader public interest technology ecosystem to develop long term strategies to strengthen the impact of advocacy efforts.
Globally, law enforcement agencies are adopting increasingly sophisticated surveillance technologies to employ predictive policing and monitor already overpoliced communities and demographics. Prevalent grounds for discriminatory conduct are race, class, citizenship, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation.
We hear from the news about phone interceptions, seized devices, hacked accounts. But most often, the civil society is provided with small to no information about how far these monitoring activities go.
How is technology employed to control targeted groups? And how can technology support who’s controlled to reclaim and protect their rights?
A few weeks ago journalist Christine Müller invited me to share my thoughts on feminism and the Internet for the German feminist magazine FrauenRat, and the issue featuring our conversation is out now!
You can find our exchange in German in the picture above, and in a liberal English translation below. The issue also features interviews with great women whose work I admire, such as Laurie Penny, Billene Seyoum Woldeyes, Anne Wizorek and more, and if you’d like to get a copy you can order it here.
Aspiration connects nonprofit organisations, foundations and activists with software solutions and technology skills that help them better carry out their missions.
My work will focus on building technology capacity strategies in support of global nonprofit human rights organisations, capturing the scope and scale of the role technology plays in human rights efforts in different contexts, and exploring ways to create an inclusive, shared language when discussing technology in human rights efforts.
There’s a word – which is an entire multi-faceted concept in itself – which comes to my mind very often, whether I’m reading the news, working, talking with loved ones or following someone’s train of thoughts online.
The concept it expresses has always been at the core of my perspective of the world and of my work, exploring how technology can most effectively serve justice and rights.
So I decided to write about it, as it might turn out to be useful for others as well – next time you’re scraping data to investigate the patterns behind an issue, supporting a group in building their advocacy strategy, or making up your own mind before going to the polls.
Organised by Aspiration, the gathering convened a widely diverse crowd, more than 100 people between activists, developers, students, campaigners, nonprofit staff members passionate about creating technology for nonprofit and social justice efforts. I had first heard about it from Misty Avila (Aspiration) and since reading Dirk Slater’s write-up about his 2013 summit experience I had it saved in my check-this-out wish list!