Mapping the impact of biometric surveillance and social media platforms on civic space
The European Center for Not-for-Profit Law is concerned about safeguarding human rights and limiting the negative impacts of security technology on civil society. Therefore, they launched a report with partners as a step to investigate how technologies introduced in the name of security and counter-terrorism will impact civil society.
In recent years, the operating space for civil society has been under pressure due to counter-terrorism financing, anti-money laundering, national security laws and narratives (most recently amplified by emergency-related regulation). Governments now use emerging technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems to detect potential cases of terrorist financing and money laundering; but in practice this results in predictive analytics and monitoring of civil society activities and financial transactions.
ECNL is concerned about safeguarding human rights and limiting the negative impacts of security technology on civil society. Therefore, they launched this report with partners as a step to investigate how technologies introduced in the name of security and counter-terrorism will impact civil society, convene civil society partners to discuss the findings and recommendations and engage in advocacy to protect their space.
While a wide range of technologies have been deployed in the pursuit of countering terrorism, the current report explores the impact of two major areas:
- Biometric identification technology;
- Moderation of social media platforms;
These technologies are already widely operational in many national contexts and applied broadly, posing a particular threat to activists, journalists, human rights defenders and CSOs.
The report was guided by ECNL, with research conducted by partners from seven countries: India, Jordan, Mexico, Thailand, Türkiye, Uganda and Ukraine.
Countries were chosen based on reported issues with both counter-terrorism measures and the use of technology. The experts involved: Forum Asia, Al-Hayat -RASED, Defenders Protection Initiative, Third Sector Foundation of Turkey (TUSEV), Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law (CEDEM), UnidOSC, Amber Sinha and Nina Dewi Toft Djanegara.
The article was first published by European Center for Not-for-Profit Law here.
Contribution by: EDRi affiliate, European Center for Not-for-Profit Law