Social media tools developed in Silicon Valley can be used for illiberal purposes, often putting the most vulnerable groups at risk.
Afsaneh Rigot is a researcher and advocate concerned with issues of law, technology, LGBTQ, refugee and human rights. A senior researcher at ARTICLE 19 with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa, an Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center and an advisor at the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard, Afsaneh is the author of the recently published report, Digital Crime Scenes: The Role of Digital Evidence in the Persecution of LGTBQ People In Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia.
The report uncovers how police use technology to target, harass and arrest those in the LGBTQ community. Meticulously researched, the report also includes recommendations to tech firms on what they can do to help the community, and Afsaneh is now working on a set of design principles that could help the developers of technology applications and platforms think through potential harms and avoid creating tools for authoritarians.
Justin Hendrix is CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Press, a new nonprofit media venture concerned with the intersection of technology and democracy. Previously, he was Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. He spent over a decade at The Economist in roles including Vice President, Business Development & Innovation. He is an associate research scientist and adjunct professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Opinions expressed here are his own.