Research Handbook on Human Rights and Digital Technology
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Research Handbook on Human Rights and Digital Technology

Global Politics, Law and International Relations

Edited by Ben Wagner, Matthias C. Kettemann and Kilian Vieth

In a digitally connected world, the question of how to respect, protect and implement human rights has become unavoidable. This contemporary Research Handbook offers new insights into well-established debates by framing them in terms of human rights. It examines the issues posed by the management of key Internet resources, the governance of its architecture, the role of different stakeholders, the legitimacy of rule making and rule-enforcement, and the exercise of international public authority over users. Highly interdisciplinary, its contributions draw on law, political science, international relations and even computer science and science and technology studies.
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Chapter 11: Surveillance reform: revealing surveillance harms and engaging reform tactics

Evan Light and Jonathan A. Obar


In the time since the attacks on September 11, 2001, state surveillance systems have expanded, threatening private communications and eroding human rights to expression and privacy. In this chapter, we discuss state surveillance harms and propose surveillance reform tactics with the aim of supporting efforts to ensure fundamental human rights are respected, and the legal, technical and social mechanisms of state surveillance are transparent and accountable, governed and governable. Reform tactics include digital mobilization against regulatory efforts to expand state surveillance; building a popular non-partisan movement; advocating for repatriation of domestic internet traffic through network sovereignty efforts; financial activism; and the design of an international policy standard. We conclude with reflections on the potential for surveillance reform in Canada. While the majority of examples we cite are Canadian, we believe they may be replicable in other international contexts. Crafting policy and law is a community undertaking and we hope for these tactics to be usable by policy-makers and civil society alike.

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