Information & Communication Technology

The Transformative Potential of ICT to Support Human Rights

Speech, 08 May 2018

By John Morrison, Chief Executive, IHRB

IHRB's Chief Executive John Morrison delivered the keynote speech at the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) meeting in Brussels on 8 May 2018.

Entitled "The Transformative Potential of ICT to Support Human Rights - Sleeping Giants in the Valley of Opportunity", he highlights the benefits of the ICT revolution: freedom of expression and improved access to other human rights; the Internet of Things, and 'wonder of all wonders' blockchain. But he also warns of three 'sleeping giants' in the ICT realm: data privacy, consent, and fake news.  

He asks:

"Where does an ICT company’s responsibility lie? It is inevitable that governments will lean on companies to do the censorship for them – weeding out the fake and keeping the true. But truth is a philosophical concept, and companies are not made up of philosophers. Nor are they made up of lawyers or human rights experts. Companies can try to pass the buck back to the governments, saying it is the state’s responsibility – but companies do exercise power to control content, under the omnibus term ‘policies’.

Read the full speech here

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