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Accountability and human rights in the age of tech
It is considered almost common knowledge that the internet has made significant contributions to human rights. To the extent the net and tech are met with criticism or scepticism, it tends to be the result of extreme and conspicuous abuse (eg Cambridge Analytica), but the more fundamental question of the net’s true contribution to human rights has never been raised in public discourse. From the perspective of human rights as recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the intention of this paper is to challenge the conventional wisdom of tech’s contribution and to raise the question as to whether tech immunity is a privilege undeserved. Has immunity become a licence to destroy values, democracy, social cohesion and human rights? Has it become a one-sided deal without checks and balances? Finally, the paper suggests possible solutions for these questions.
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Dan Shefet is a French lawyer, born in Denmark, and the author of the report to UNESCO on ‘Online Radicalization’ as Individual Specialist, Expert with the Council of Europe on the Internet Ombudsman and President of AAID. Dan holds a philosophy degree and a law degree from the University of Copenhagen in addition to law studies in France. He specialises in European law as well as Human Rights, in general, and in the IT environment, in particular. Dan is a frequent speaker at international conferences on IT law, data privacy and content regulation. In 2014, he founded the Association for Accountability and Internet Democracy (AAID). The main objective of this association is to introduce a general principle of accountability on the internet in order to secure the protection of human integrity.