Round Table: When Corporations Disrespect Women's Human Rights: Access to Good Quality Remediation

Source: The Art Institute of Chicago: https://www.artic.edu/

 

By Aleydis Nissen

 

Financial Sponsors: Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research, Institutions for Conflict Resolution theme (Dutch Legal Sector Plan), Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) postdoc grant Nr 12Z8921N and Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (F.R.S.-FNRS) chargée de recherche grant Nr FC38129.

Women experience the impacts of corporate activities – including the flexibilization of labour and the privatisation of public services – differently and disproportionally. Women have historically suffered discrimination, and remedies (inside and outside the courtroom) have often consolidated (p. 75) such exclusions. They have subordinated women by reproducing stereotypes and other obstacles that exist in society as a whole. More...

The second Doctoral Research Forum of the NNHRR

The second Doctoral Research Forum of the NNHRR

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-light-bulb-1495580/

 

By Melanie Schneider


The NNHRR held its second Doctoral Research Forum on October 14 at the University of Groningen, which hosted the event in cooperation with the Asser Institute and Open Universiteit. The Forum offered a constructive and safe space for PhD members to share their research with one other while receiving valuable feedback and guidance from senior members of the NNHRR. More...

Towards Corporate Obligations for Freshwater? The European Commission’s Proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive and Freshwater Issues

Towards Corporate Obligations for Freshwater?

The European Commissions Proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive and Freshwater Issues

 

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/rrfdqjJWwmU 
By Candice Foot

 

Freshwater is essential for all life on this planet. Despite this fundamental life sustaining role, the anthropogenic pressures exerted on freshwater resources have increased exponentially, some of the most substantial of which are caused by companies. Companies exacerbate freshwater scarcity due to their volumes of freshwater extraction. Globally, approximately 84% of freshwater resources are withdrawn by the agricultural and industrial sectors. This mass extraction contributes to freshwater scarcity in the basins where companies operate, making freshwater unavailable to meet basic human and environmental needs. Companies are also a major source of freshwater pollution, caused by their discharging harmful agricultural effluents and industrial wastewater contaminated with chemical and radiological substances into surrounding freshwater sources. This deteriorates freshwater quality, causes serious health problems for people and destroys ecosystems. More...

Conference on Tobacco, Law and Human Rights: Crossing borders, spaces and substances

Conference on Tobacco, Law and Human Rights: Crossing borders, spaces and substances

 
 
By Ellen Henricson

 

Tobacco is a leading cause of death, illness, and impoverishment. Its health risks, from direct consumption as well as second-hand exposure, are by now indisputable. Of the different available forms of tobacco, cigarette smoking is the most common one. Most smokers start already as children or adolescents and live in low- and middle-income countries. Other tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, cigars, waterpipe tobacco, and various types of smokeless tobacco, are likewise inherently toxic and highly addictive. International, regional, and domestic laws are crucial for shaping tobacco policies, and there are increasing regulatory efforts on all levels. Still, legal scholarship on tobacco is scarce. More...

Banning Russia Today and Sputnik in Europe is a bad idea

Banning Russia Today and Sputnik in Europe is a bad idea

 

 

Source: https://wordpress.org/openverse/image/0ba994c4-1df9-4667-9904-da741ecb187c/
By Raghav Mendiratta and Natalie Alkiviadou

 

On March 1, 2022, Regulation 2022/350 of the Council of the European Union (EU) suspended broadcasting activities of Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik in the EU until Russia ends the aggression against Ukraine and its media “cease to conduct propaganda actions” against the EU and its Member States. The Regulation (as well as the respective Council Decision) justified this measure on the grounds that Russia has engaged in a "systematic, international campaign of media manipulation and distortion of facts to enhance its strategy of destabilization of its neighboring countries and of the Union and its Member States". More...

“The computer said it was OK!”: human rights (and other) implications of manipulative design (Part 2/2)

“The computer said it was OK!”: human rights (and other) implications of manipulative design

 

By Dr. Silvia De Conca

 

 
Credit: Silva de Conca

 

This is Part 2 of a two-part series.

On November 19th, 2021, the “Human Rights in the Digital Age” working group of the NNHRR held a multidisciplinary workshop on the legal implications of ‘online manipulation’. This is Part 2 of a two-part series.

Manipulative design, autonomy, and human rights.

By turning individuals into means to an end, manipulative design infringes on their dignity, because it affects their intrinsic value as human beings. Manipulative design is a constraint to individual autonomy, whether it is used for ‘paternalistic’ policymaking or by companies for profit. More...

“The computer said it was OK!”: human rights (and other) implications of manipulative design (Part 1/2)

“The computer said it was OK!”: human rights (and other) implications of manipulative design

By Dr. Silvia De Conca
Credit: Silvia de Conca

This is Part 1 of a two-part series.

On November 19th, 2021, the “Human Rights in the Digital Age” working group of the NNHRR held a multidisciplinary workshop on the legal implications of ‘online manipulation’. The term ‘online manipulation’ indicates online services designed to manipulate individuals into clicking, buying, or sharing more (hereinafter also manipulative design). More...

The Right to an Effective Remedy in International Personal Data Transfers

The Right to an Effective Remedy in International Personal Data Transfers

By Dr Irene Kamara (Tilburg University & Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Prof. Dr. Eleni Kosta (Tilburg University), Prof. Dr. Sofia Ranchordas (University of Groningen & Luiss Guido Carli University)

 

Source: unsplash

 

In July 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU or the Court) annulled for the second time a Commission Decision which found that the US offers a (partially) adequate level of protection to individuals whose data are transferred to that country. The Commission Decision was based on the so-called Privacy Shield, a US-EU bilateral agreement providing companies a mechanism to comply with legal requirements for the transfer of personal data. More...

Artificial Intelligence & Human Rights: Friend or Foe?

Artificial Intelligence & Human Rights: Friend or Foe?

 

By Alberto Quintavalla and Jeroen Temperman

 

Picture connected (Creative Commons licenses)
Source: https://www.techslang.com/ai-and-human-rights-are-they-related/

 

The problem

Artificial intelligence (‘AI’) applications can have a significant impact on human rights. This impact can be twofold. On the one hand, it may contribute to the advancement of human rights. A striking example is the use of machine learning in healthcare to improve precision medicine so that patients would receive better care. On the other hand, it can pose an obvious risk to the respect of human rights. Unfortunately, there are countless examples. Perhaps the most obvious one is the use of algorithms discriminating against ethnic minorities and women.

The call

It is in this context that international and national institutions are calling for further reflection on the prospective impact of AI. These calls are especially advanced at the European level, including the active involvement of the Council of Europe. Time is in fact ripe to start mapping the risks that AI applications could have on human rights and, subsequently, to develop an effective legal and policy framework in response to these risks.

The event

On 28 October 2021, the hybrid workshop ‘AI & Human Rights: Friend or Foe?’ took place. On this occasion, several researchers from around the world met to discuss the prospective impact of AI on human rights. The event was organized by the Erasmus School of Law, and benefitted from the sponsorship of both the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research and the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on Digital Governance.

Zooming out: the common theme(s)

The workshop consisted of various presentations, each addressing specific instances of the complex interaction between AI and human rights. Nonetheless, the discussion with the audience highlighted two common challenges in dealing with the prospective impact of AI on human rights. Firstly, the recourse to market mechanisms or the use of regulatory instruments aiming at changing individuals’ economic incentives (and, accordingly, behaviour) are not sufficient to address the issues presented by the use of AI. Regulation laying down a comprehensive set of rules applicable to the development and deployment of all AI applications is necessary to fill the existing regulatory gaps and safeguard fundamental rights. This is in line with the EU Commission’s recent proposal setting out harmonized rules for AI, including the need to subject the so-called high-risk AI systems to strict obligations prior to their market entry. Secondly, and relatedly, the development of international measures is not enough to ensure the effective management with local issues and delineate regulation that are responsive to the particular circumstances. Society should regularly look at the context where the emerging issues unfold. The deployment of AI systems is in fact designed to operate in culturally different environments, each one with specific local features. 

Zooming in: the various panels

The remaining part of this blog post provides a short overview of the more specific arguments and considerations presented during the workshop. The workshop consisted of five panels. The first panel revolved around questions of AI and content moderation, biometric technologies, and facial recognition. The discussion emphasized major privacy concerns as well as the chilling effects on free speech and the freedom of association in this area. The second panel, among other issues, continued the content moderation discussion by arguing that the risks of deploying AI-based technologies can be complemented by the human rights potential thereof in terms of combating hateful speech. Moreover, the dynamics between AI and human rights were assessed through the lenses of data analytics, machine learning, and regulatory sandboxes. The third panel aimed to complement the conventional discussions on AI and human rights by focusing on the contextual and institutional dimensions. Specifically, it stressed the relevance of integrating transnational standards into the regulatory environments at lower governance levels since they tend to take more heed of citizens’ preferences, the expanding role of automation in administrative decision-making and the associated risk of not receiving effective remedy, the ever-increasing role of AI-driven applications in business practices and the need for protecting consumers from (e.g.) distortion of their personal autonomy or indirect discrimination, as well as the impact that AI applications can have on workers’ human rights in the workplace. These presentations yielded a broader discussion on the need to ensure a reliable framework of digital governance to protect the vulnerability of human beings as they adopt specific roles (i.e., citizens, consumers, and workers). The fourth panel further expanded the analysis on how AI may expose individuals and groups to other risks when they are in particular situations that have so far been overlooked by current scholarship. Specifically, it discussed the right to freedom of religion or belief, the right to be ignored in public spaces, and the use of AI during the pandemic and its impact on human rights implementation. All of the three presentations stressed that AI surveillance is an important facet that should be targeted by regulatory efforts. Lastly, the fifth panel ventured into a number of specific human rights and legal issues raised as a result of the interplay between AI and the rights of different minority groups such as refugees, LGBTQI and women. The discussion mostly revolved around the serious discriminatory harm that the use of AI applications can result in. References have been made, in particular, to bias in the training data employed by AI systems as well as the underrepresentation of minority groups in the technology sector.

A provisional conclusion

The discussion during the workshop showed that the startling increase in AI applications poses significant threats to several human rights. These threats are however not yet entirely spelled out. Efforts of policymakers and academic research should then be directed to pinpoint what are the specific threats that would emerge as a result of AI deployment. Only then, will it be possible to develop a legal and policy framework that would respond to the posed threats and ensure sufficient protection of fundamental rights. Admittedly, this framework will need to grant some dose of discretion to lower governance levels so that it would be possible to integrate context-specific factors. On a more positive note, the presentations from the workshop emphasized that AI applications can also be employed as a means of protecting fundamental rights.

Bio:

 

Jeroen Temperman is Professor of International Law and Head of the Law & Markets Department at Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Religion & Human Rights and a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief. He has authored, among other books, Religious Hatred and International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016) and State–Religion Relationships and Human Rights Law (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2010) and edited Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017) and The Lautsi Papers (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2012).