Q&A: The challenge of technology and human rights

Edward Santow, Australian human rights commissioner at the Global Compact Network Australian conference. Photo by: Phat Ngo / High Impact Headshots

MELBOURNE, Australia — Technology is an important tool to reach those in need and deliver solutions at scale to support global development challenges. But this technology comes with unintended consequences, such as human rights abuses, exclusion of people with disabilities, and privacy breaches.

Edward Santow, Australian human rights commissioner, told Devex that he did not want to be a negative voice on technology’s potential — but had seen many examples where human rights were abused in delivering new products and services. Human rights needed to be fundamental as part of technology design principles, he said.

About the author

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    Lisa Cornish

    Lisa Cornish is a Devex Reporter based in Canberra, where she focuses on the Australian aid community. Lisa formerly worked with News Corp Australia as a data journalist for the national network and was published throughout Australia in major metropolitan and regional newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph in Melbourne, Herald Sun in Melbourne, Courier-Mail in Brisbane, and online through news.com.au. Lisa additionally consults with Australian government providing data analytics, reporting and visualization services. Lisa was awarded the 2014 Journalist of the Year by the New South Wales Institute of Surveyors.