Our (Mis)represented Digital Rights

Influential research. Trusted analysis.

A representation is a statement of fact delivered in a context with legal impacts, such as a courtroom or a contract. Digital systems, however, don’t usually distinguish how they share information or impact liability on the basis of context, which is where internet regulations focusing on protecting data as if it were speech fall short, as Sean McDonald discusses.

International human rights law protects our right to freedom of thought, which includes the right to keep our thoughts and opinions private, the right not to have our thoughts and opinions manipulated, and the right not to be penalized for our thoughts and opinions. In this policy brief, Susie Alegre explores strategies to protect these rights in digital spaces such as social media platforms.

In this animated video, Suzie Dunn explains how online gender-based violence has been minimized and ignored because of the mistaken belief that online abuse is not as harmful as abuse that happens in the physical world. Understanding the many forms it takes, who the victims are and what harms arise is vital to combatting online gender-based violence.

According to Kate Crawford, author of Atlas of AI and this week's guest on the Big Tech podcast, artificial intelligence is not built in some “algorithmic nowhere space” on pure data, objective and neutral, but is instead grounded on the ghost work and human labour that train these systems. Rather than govern AI as a whole, we need to address AI’s many extractive aspects to tackle its wider planetary costs.

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On May 26, Blayne Haggart spoke to Canadian Press about Facebook’s move to compensate 14 Canadian publishers for some news content posted to its platform. You can read the full story on Global News here.

As the world moves into the post-pandemic period, there is widespread agreement that its institutions need reform — but who among the major economies is in a position to underwrite a new framework? Dan Ciuriak explores the required changes, the defining issues, and who might be the architects to bring it all about.

Jun. 8 – 1:30 p.m. EDT (UTC–04:00): As part of CIGI’s continued work on reimagining a modern Canadian national security strategy, we are pleased to host Vincent Rigby, national security and intelligence advisor to the prime minister of Canada. Rigby will discuss his role in responding to national security challenges; a question period moderated by Aaron Shull will follow. Please note that the date for this event has been updated.

Jun. 15 – 10:30 a.m. EDT (UTC–04:00): CIGI’s Robert Fay will be welcoming six experts to this public panel discussion, part of the Think20 Spring Round Tables, on the challenging but essential task of building trust to fully harness the benefits of digital technologies. Learn more about the speakers and register for this virtual event, co-hosted by CIGI and the Italian Institute for International Political Studies.

Jun. 24 – 9:30 a.m. EDT (UTC–04:00): Non-consensual intimate image distribution (NCIID), often referred to as “revenge pornography” or “image-based sexual abuse,” is an unforgiving reality that plagues the lives of many within today’s digital landscape. Moderator Ruhiya Seward will be joined by experts Grace Mutung’u, Michelle Bordachar and Nonhlanhla Chanza to speak about this issue as it pertains to Kenya, Chile and South Africa, respectively.

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