Technology & Human Rights

Collaborating partners: OpenGlobalRights and University of Washington Rule of Law Initiative

Technology can be a powerful tool for human rights. Newer technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain have the potential to make significant positive contributions to the promotion and protection of human rights. At the same time, rapid developments in artificial intelligence, automation and robotics raise serious questions about potential impacts on human rights and the future of work, as well as who will benefit and lose from their expansion.

This blog series explores the human rights risks posed by new and emerging technologies, the role of business, and how the human rights field can respond.

For the latest news and resources regarding technology and human rights, visit our technology and human rights portal.



Communications infrastructure in Palestine has become a tool of repression

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

Who Profits Research Center




Geospatial technology—done right—can improve human rights documentation

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

Theresa Harris, Project Director in the Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)



photo of face of blue robot


Mitigating unfair bias in artificial intelligence

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 progress in fairness, transparency, and accountability.

Bernard Shen, Assistant General Counsel at Microsoft Corporation




The corporations' dilemma: navigating government access to information

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.

Isabel Laura Ebert, Research Associate at Institute for Business Ethics, University of St. Gallen




New human rights principles on artificial intelligence

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.

Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International




Risks and responsibilities of content moderation in online platforms

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 freedom of expression. 

Richard Wingfield, Legal Officer at Global Partners Digital 




What digital searches reveal about our engagement with rights

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 we become more than passive recipients of human rights?

Rayyan Dabbous, founder of the Boumerang Foundation



Bringing justice close: an experiment in accessing justice with technology

Legal empowerment enables poor and marginalised communities to be partners in development and decision-making, and new technologies make it possible for women in India to speak out against systemic problems.

Shreya Sen, Senior Justice Programme Officer at Nazdeek



Without binding rules, AI guidelines are just wishful thinking

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

Emre Eren Korkmaz, Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Oxford


A gender lens is critical to resolving tech-enabled abuse

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.

Michelle Lau-Burke, Manager of Business and Human Rights at The B Team, and Callie Strickland, Gender Specialist at The B Team




AI insights into human rights are meaningless without action

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 protect their users?

Samir Goswami, Consultant on Business and Fair Labour Issues and Teacher of CSR in the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers University



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

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

Afsaneh Rigot, Programme Officer, Article 19 


FIFA 2018: digital rights are (finally) playable

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

Peter Micek, General Counsel, Access Now


Addressing the potential human rights risks of the "Fourth Industrial Revolution"

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.

Phil Bloomer, Executive Director at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, and Christen Dobson, Senior Project Lead and Researcher at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre


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

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

Dunstan Allison-Hope, Managing Director, Business for Social Responsibility, and Mark Hodge, independent advisor and research fellow at the Institute for Human Rights and Business 



The "new green"? Business and the responsible use of algorithms

Algorithms have long aided decision-making, but as artificial intelligence gains greater autonomy, businesses need guidelines and regulations to ensure that this new technology does not violate human rights.

Matthew Fenech, Research and Advocacy Consultant on artificial intelligence (AI)


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

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

Emre Eren Korkmaz is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Oxford’s Department of International Development

We welcome submissions (including responses to any of the blogs on this page) from all stakeholders. To submit a blog to this series please contact:

Christen Dobson, Senior Project Lead & Researcher, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

dobson [at]

Archana Pandya, Co-Director, OpenGlobalRights

apandya [at]