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Digital Debate #6: On ethical red lines for the use of digital tools by Civil Society Organisations

Free Registration: On ethical red lines for the use of digital tools by Civil Society Organisations


  • 2nd September 2021
    4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

02 September |

Event times in Central European Summer Time (CEST)

 

The digital transformation is all encompassing: consumer electronics, online shopping and education, eGovernment and Gig work. And as our societies undergo this transformation so do civil society organisations (CSO). What started with digitalised back offices, eMail and accounting, has evolved in CSO maintaining data and data bases, using biometrics and bots, experimenting with artificial intelligence. Some CSO have entered into alliances with tech companies while others keep their distance, critisising their business models and advocating for change.

 

THE DEBATE

Hosted by Barb Iverson, the 6th Digital Debate will discuss the role of CSO in this vast landscape, sometimes called surveillance capitalism or platform economy, and state sponsored digital surveillance or CSO-driven compassionate surveillance. The perspective offered by three eminent panelists is not that of self-styled digital freedom fighters but that of analysts who observe that in times of a pandemic even CSO seem convinced that the battle for health is not only fought by virologists and epidemiologists, but also by computer scientists and big data specialists. Fighting poverty with pen and paper was yesterday, today’s modernisation lures by collecting personal data for statistical modelling and automated decision making.

The digital rights movement has produced numerous documents, enshrining principles, guidelines, and codes of conduct that are trying to set a framework for operating ethically. But none of these well-meaning documents is legally binding and when laws come into play, such as the GDPR data protection regulation, then most CSO rely on self-policing rather than submitting themselves to third party supervision and litigation.

So, the question stands: Where are ethical red lines for the use of digital tools by Civil Society Organisations?