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Welcome to the Official Schedule for RightsCon 2019, the world’s leading summit on human rights in the digital age.

Together at RightsCon Tunis, our first summit hosted in the Middle East and North Africa, more than 2500 expert practitioners will come together across over 400 sessions to shape, contribute to, and drive forward the global agenda for the future of our human rights.

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Friday, June 14 • 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Lightning Talks: Land and labour in a digital world

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Labour rights in the age of the platform: What do India's driver partners have to tell us? (The YP Foundation)

Description: Platform work is often viewed across binary frames - one highlighting formalization and freedom to choose for oneself the volume and timings of work (and income); and the other highlighting its precaritizing nature. However, these become redundant when transplanted to economies such as India, primarily because work has always been flexible and precarious here owing to the dominance of the informal economy. Then what really are platforms such as Uber and Ola doing to boast of nearly 3 million ‘driver partners’? Even though several studies point to higher short-term earnings for driver partners, this has also been accompanied by two years of consistent strikes and discontent expressed by the drivers over several policies relating to Uber work. How do we locate the paradox of increasing discontent coupled with increasing number of drivers attaching themselves to the app? What kinds of reorganization of labour (rights) are we witnessing under the platform wave? This session weaves together field based insights to answer some of these questions with the aim to inform better regulation of the expansion of platform work. This session would be supported with evidence from on-ground research including direct quotations and audio clips from interviews to make it more impactful.

Speaker: Abhishek Sekharan

A Declaration of Digital Rights for the Natural World (metaLAB (at) Harvard, at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society)

Description: The session seeks to inspire participants to reflect on the demands technology makes on the natural world, and to foster dialogue on emergent conceptions of rights for nonhuman entities. Our concepts of sustainable development—indeed our very flourishing as a species—is connected ineluctably to the welfare of nature. How should the networks, communication, and media be designed in light of this inescapable fact? How might we articulate actionable commitments to the digital empowerment of living things on the planet? Is the digital doing enough to address climate change, the loss of habitat, and diminishing biodiversity—not only as present threats to human rights and human thriving, but as essentially detrimental to right itself? Contending with such questions, the session will evoke the vision of a charter with the force, charisma, and rhetorical drive to foster a broad public conversation about the intrinsic worth of the natural world and its right to digital empowerment and expression.

Speaker: Matthew Battles

Growing Insecurity: The creeping pervasiveness of the agriculture technology platforms

Description: Data-driven, algorithmically-mediated agriculture is being heralded as a panacea solution to the ever-growing demands of an increasing global population. But while there is no denying the very real needs on the horizon, the remarkable speed with which ICT technologies are being adopted on farms should give anyone familiar with the challenges of data management, security, and upkeep pause.  Drones and robots are replacing workers, and data-driven algorithmic decisions about where to plant, how much to water to use, the volume of fertilizer, and the amount of chemicals to apply are quickly supplanting generational human knowledge.

This talk will explore the growing field of ‘precision agriculture,’ and provide a 10,000 feet-view of the many ways in which this new and quickly-growing sector intersects with those concerned with human rights and the technology sector. From land grabs to robotic labor; algorithmic management to robotic strawberry pickers - the new Ag Platforms have arrived, and at risk are farmers large and small; developed and developing nations. Failure to address these questions can lead to catastrophic losses in harvests, debilitating economic dependencies, and other unforeseen consequences.

Rian Wanstreet

avatar for Rian Wanstreet

Rian Wanstreet

PhC, University of Washington
avatar for matthew battles

matthew battles

Associate Director, metaLAB (at) Harvard, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University
Matthew Battles is a maker and thinker whose work merges literary, scholarly, and artistic forms of inquiry. His writing on the cultural dimensions of science and technology appears such venues as The American Scholar, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, and The New York Times. His... Read More →

Friday June 14, 2019 12:00pm - 1:00pm BST
The BeeHive (Palais)