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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 • 2:15pm - 3:30pm
Tech Policy, AI and Investment in the GCC: A path to digital development or digital dystopia?

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Data might not be the new oil, and the Middle East isn't China, but Gulf Arab states are seeking a new global role in technology policy and investment. Their efforts are being embraced by international organizations encouraging digital development without confronting current digital dilemmas, as well as by global companies, who are both investing in and seeking investment from these states. Despite repressive cybercrime laws and a dismal record of human rights protection online in the Arab region, few in power seem to be asking what the implications of the Saudi government's $3.5 billion investment in Uber might be. Or how Bahrain's new data protection law will affect data stored in Amazon's new data center there. Or how the UAE's prioritization of applied artificial intelligence to advance citizens’ “happiness and wellbeing" could possibly go wrong. At this strategic roundtable, we will pose these and other questions to illuminate underexplored relationships between global technology companies and governments in the digitally developed GCC, and interrogate their impact on human rights. We hope to highlight the dilemmas raised when tech companies do business in these countries and/or receive investment from them and will discuss strategies to keep human rights top of mind.

avatar for Jessica Dheere

Jessica Dheere

Founder/Executive Director, SMEX
I'm the co-founder and executive director of the Beirut, Lebanon–based SMEX (smex.org), the Middle East and North Africa’s leading digital rights research and policy advocacy organization. I'm also a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and the Carr Center... Read More →

avatar for Afef Abrougui

Afef Abrougui

Advox Lead Editor, Global Voices

Friday June 14, 2019 2:15pm - 3:30pm BST
Carthage 3 (Laico)