Technology and human rights in 2017

Below is a transcript of my talk at Liberty’s 2017 Annual General Meeting:

We have the extraordinary challenge, and the privilege, of being at a unique and vital axis in time – the precipice of a seismic technological revolution. As the world rapidly changes, our struggle to uphold, entrench, and extend human rights at the core of it is a struggle that’s outcome will certainly outlive us.

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We often pair technology and surveillance, because new ‘smart’ and internet connected technologies are used for surveillance, tracking, and data collection. If the industrial revolution was fueled by oil, the technological revolution is being fueled by data – a valuable commodity that is being mined and exploited at almost any cost. Protecting privacy is the environmental challenge of the information age. It is fundamental to the sustainability of a healthy democratic society.

As technological innovation grows, so too do the opportunities to embed surveillance in all aspects of everyday life.

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Surveillance has taken root from the phones in our pockets, and is increasingly creeping into the home.

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Revealed: immigration officers allowed to hack phones

originally published by The Guardian, April 2016

by Mark Townsend

Home Office granted powers to snoop on detention centre refugees three years ago by amendment to 20-year-old Police Act

Two women detained at Yarl’s Wood in Bedfordshire

Two women detained at Yarl’s Wood in Bedfordshire beg for help. Now it has been revealed that their phones can be legally hacked. Photograph: Guy Corbishley/Demotix/Corbis

Immigration officials have been permitted to hack the phones of refugees and asylum seekers, including rape and torture victims, for the past three years.

The revelation has sparked outrage among civil rights groups and campaigners for rape victims, who said that it was distressing that the British government had rolled out powers that could target some of the most vulnerable individuals in society.

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