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Major project to focus on human rights and technology

Rights Rights and Freedoms

Big data, artificial intelligence and social media are upending how we live, work and communicate. How can we protect our basic human rights? Leaders in industry, government and academia will explore the human rights implications of unprecedented technological change at a landmark event in Sydney.

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s international Human Rights and Technology conference on July 24 will also launch a major Commission project led by Human Rights Commissioner, Edward Santow.

“This project will create a blueprint for responsible and inclusive innovation and give Australian governments a framework to protect our rights and freedoms in the digital age,” Commissioner Santow said.

“Artificial intelligence is helping to treat life-threatening disease. Yet the Cambridge Analytica controversy shows how similar technology can also threaten privacy and other rights.”

Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft Corporation, Steve Crown, and Aza Raskin, the former Mozilla Head of User Experience now Co-founder of the US Center for Humane Technology, will be among the experts presenting at the conference.

Other speakers include:

• UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Professor Joe Cannataci
• Chief Scientist of Australia, Dr Alan Finkel AO
• ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie
• Australia’s Ambassador for Cyber Affairs, Dr Tobias Feakin.

The Commission will start a broad community consultation with the launch of an issues paper at the conference. Informed by input from industry, academic experts, civil society and government, the Commission’s final report and recommendations will be released in late 2019.

“Technology is impacting our lives on a revolutionary scale,” Commissioner Santow said.

“With growing community awareness of technology’s potential for harm, our challenge is to build a future that Australians want and need, rather than one we fear.”

This Commission project is supported by the following major project partners: The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Herbert Smith Freehills, LexisNexis and University of Technology Sydney.  

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights and Technology conference will take place on 24 July 2018, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney.

More information about the project and the conference is available at