Information & Communication Technology

Safeguarding Rights in the Big Data Revolution

Meeting Report, 04 August 2016

Image: Kts | Dreamstime.com

Reliance on technology has resulted in a data explosion. We create and release data about ourselves and our activities every minute of every day. Big data is a great enabler and has the potential to advance human rights. But there are also poignant questions to consider:

  • What do privacy rights mean in the age of big data, the internet of things and increased surveillance around the world?
  • How to protect other rights such as non-discrimination, freedom of association and freedom of expression?

This Wilton Park conference brought together international experts from a range of countries including Finland, Germany, Italy, India, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, UK and US, with backgrounds in international organisations, government, business, civil society and academia to discuss the challenges of safeguarding rights in the use of big data. The conference explored the opportunities and risks of big data in the ICT sector and beyond, including the practical steps business can take to ensure rights are respected.

Discussion included:

  • an exploration of the complexities of big data
  • the opportunities to help realise human rights 
  • the challenges data controllers face regarding ownership, consent, transparency, accountability and trust

The conference also explored the prospect of developing a set of human rights based principles in order to embed privacy considerations into company practice, particularly in the way data is collected, stored, processed and shared.

Download the conference report in the right-hand panel to catch up on the full discussion. 

Image: Kts | Dreamstime.com

Latest IHRB Publications

The Start of Modern Corporate Accountability Efforts - In Memory of Joel Filártiga

It is an unfortunate reality that when human rights defenders speak against their governments, they place themselves at risk of harm. Still, some choose to speak, and in doing so they change the course of history.

Dr Joel Filártiga was one such...

25 July 2019

Human Rights and the Built Environment - A Call for Action

Two-thirds of humanity are projected to live in urban areas by 2050. If we are to make progress in reducing global inequality and in meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a rights-based approach to the built environment is critical. 

IHRB...

Rights and Wrongs - Where Does the Buck Stop?

Last week, Bank of America announced that it would no longer lend to companies that run the controversial centres where the United States Government is detaining refugees and migrants who have entered the country without proper documentation  (such...