The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy serves as the hub of the Harvard Kennedy School’s research, teaching, and training in the human rights domain. The center embraces a dual mission: to educate students and the next generation of leaders from around the world in human rights policy and practice; and to convene and provide policy-relevant knowledge to international organizations, governments, policymakers, and businesses.
Abstract:Just as rights are not static, neither is harm. The humanitarian system has always been critiqued as arguably colonial and patriarchal. As these systems increasingly intersect with Western, capitalist technology systems in the race of “for good” technology, how do governance systems ethically anticipate harm, not just now but into the future? Can humanitarian governance systems design mitigation or subversion mechanisms to not lock people into future harm, future inequity, or future indebtedness because of technology design and intervention? Instead of looking at digital governance in terms of control, weaving in foresight and decolonial approaches might liberate our digital futures so that it is a space of safety and humanity for all, and through this, birth new forms of digital humanism.
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One of the unwritten rules of the internet is that it was designed to never forget, a feature associated with emerging privacy harms from the availability of personal information captured online. Before the advent of search engines, discovering personal histories would have required hours of sifting through library records. Search engines present the opportunity to find immense amounts of personal details within seconds through a few simple keystrokes. When individuals experience privacy harms, they have limited recourse to demand changes from firms, as platform companies are in the business of making information more accessible.
Our national reckoning with racism and police brutality, long in the making, was not inevitable. Activists and community leaders had to not only organize an effective, lasting movement against racist brutality carried out by the police but also navigate the media portrayal of the Black Lives Matter movement. The BLM movement forced the American public to see the dots and acknowledge the pattern of senseless violence carried out by the police against the black community. In so doing, the movement created the largest civil resistance campaign in American history, with millions of people across the country and around the world joining the protests.Read the paper.
“The Carr Center is building a bridge between ideas on human rights and the practice on the ground. Right now we are at a critical juncture. The pace of technological change and the rise of authoritarian governments are both examples of serious challenges to the flourishing of individual rights. It’s crucial that Harvard and the Kennedy School continue to be a major influence in keeping human rights ideals alive. The Carr Center is a focal point for this important task.”
- Mathias Risse