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Technology and human rights

By Christine Chen

Senior Manager of Policy And Communications

Cross-posted from the Google Public Policy Blog.

Every day we see Internet users around the world finding new ways to use technology to help bring about political, economic and social change. It’s exciting to see people exercise their rights to freely express themselves and access information across borders and media -- rights first enshrined in Article 19 of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights long before the Internet existed.

Far less clear, however, are the long-term implications of rapid technological development for human rights: What’s the balance between people using social media to empower themselves and governments using it to oppress their own citizens? How do governments create national policies when the Internet breaks borders? And what role do companies have in enabling or protecting the free exchange of ideas?

These questions and more will be addressed at the first ever Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference, taking place in San Francisco on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 25 and 26. Activists, academics, and analysts will meet with engineers, entrepreneurs, and executives for discussion about how and when technology can advance human rights.

We’re pleased to be the original sponsor of Rightscon, as it’s being called. Several Googlers from the public policy team, as well as speakers from YouTube, will be participating on panels and in roundtable discussions on topics from free expression and government regulation to transparency and intermediary liability. You can see the full agenda here.

We want you to be part of the conversation, too. So in partnership with Access, the non-profit which is hosting the event, we will be live streaming the plenary speeches and panels from 9am to 5pm PT on each day of the conference on CitizenTube, YouTube’s News and Politics channel. We hope you’ll tune in and participate.