Digital Surveillance

Human & Civil Rights, Digital Surveillance & Emerging Technologies

Networked technologies have evolved to afford an unprecedented capacity to track, influence and control people through digital means. The implications of this predicament dominate political, economic, and cultural discourse today. The same evolutionary pathway allowed a small number of powerful actors to disproportionately imagine, create and control the means and regulation of digital surveillance. 

From the cables and servers that make up the physical infrastructure of the internet to the design of facial or voice recognition algorithms, all digital technologies carry a range of possibilities – from promising to pernicious – for the future development and enjoyment of human rights. But the deployment of emerging technologies has not led to greater equality, more democratic access to knowledge, or safer and more inclusive societies – and where positive developments have emerged, these come at grave costs at the margins which often go undocumented or dismissed as acceptable in economies focused on efficiency and scale. 

In the future, the demand for effective accountability options for the creation and misuse of repressive technologies will grow as human rights advocates are increasingly empowered and supported in their work. That means finding new innovative ways to communicate and build solidarity across political borders, and investing in the creative use of investigative tools and legal advocacy to expand access to justice in this complex and evolving field.