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Last updated: Version 2.3 (Updated May 15, 2018).

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Friday, May 18 • 10:30 - 11:45
Sexuality and data: emerging tech, deepening responsibility

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This private roundtable will facilitate dialogue between representatives of the private sectors, LGBQTI activists, and other relevant actors to explore key issues at the intersection of big data and LGBQTI rights. The private sector’s responsibility to respect human rights online is well recognised, if not fully understood and implemented. In recent months, two significant normative statements have come out, which can help clarify the role of the private sector with respect to the human rights of LGBQTI persons in the online environment.

First, a group of human rights experts released the Yogyakarta Principles plus 10 (YP +10), which include a new principle 36 on “The Right to the Enjoyment of Human Rights in Relation to Information and Communication Technologies”. While not targeted at companies, YP+10 (http://www.yogyakartaprinciples.org/principles-en/yp10/) make an important normative statement regarding the right to access and use information and communication technologies, including the internet, without violence, discrimination or other harm based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics (SOGIESC), and outline conditions necessary for LGBQTI persons to exercise their human rights through the use of the internet and ICTs.

Second, the UN Office of the HIgh Commissioner for Human Rights launched global standards for business to tackle discrimination against LGBTI persons (https://www.unfe.org/standards). Rooted in the UN Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights, the new standards address the actions companies must take internally in their own practices, in their operations, and in the public sphere to eliminate discrimination and affirm a positive environment for the realisation of rights of LGBQTI persons. A number of technology companies indicated their support for the new standards at their launch

Using these two emerging frameworks as a jumping off point, the roundtable will facilitate a dialogue between LGBQTI activists and private sector representatives on how to approach these frameworks and forefront civil society participation and concerns. In other words, how can these principles come to life, to ensure that they improve the enjoyment of rights of LGBQTI people online and off. Substantively, the discussion will examine more complex and emerging issues, specifically around sexual expression and consent. We also expect to address how big data can be used to advance the rights of LGBQTI persons, and how to put in place safeguards, oversight, and remedy to avoid exploitation of big data in ways that deepen discrimination, violence, and harm on the basis of SOGIESC.

We also plan to use the roundtable to assess existing modalities for interactions between the LGBQTI community and technology companies, best practices, and things to avoid, with a goal towards setting up mechanisms for interfacing moving forward.

A case study for the session will be the work of ARTICLE 19 with Grindr. The human rights organisation ARTICLE 19 and the queer dating app Grindr commenced work together up in 2016 to combat challenges faced by users in the MENA region - their has since led to a coalition of local NGOs/activists, companies, technologists and human rights organisations to conduct meaningful impact assessments and come up with responses to issues identified. Company responsibility to respond was vital. The case study will look at how Grindr changed its view on security and human rights (from implementing the recommendation on cloaking, to increasing their internal security and communication with local groups and digisec technologists) through to the collaborations that arose from it and what can be learnt from others in the private sector. It will also be an opportunity to look at what Grindr’s next moves will/should be in response to the security and safety of their users.

avatar for Deborah Brown

Deborah Brown

Association for Progressive Communications

avatar for Afsaneh	Rigot

Afsaneh Rigot

avatar for Fabrice Houdart

Fabrice Houdart

Human Rights Officer, UN
Fabrice works on the Free & Equal campaign, an unprecedented United Nations global public education campaign for LGBT equality. He also leads a project on global LGBTI standards of conduct for Business on tackling LGBTI discrimination with the support of more than 100 of the largest... Read More →
avatar for Jac sm Kee

Jac sm Kee

Women's Rights Programme Manager, Association for Progressive Communication

Friday May 18, 2018 10:30 - 11:45 EDT