Governments and private actors are increasingly reliant on artificial intelligence and digital technologies, which raises concerns for civic freedoms. Technologies, such as facial recognition, have been used to identify and arrest protesters. Meanwhile, the distribution of fake or misleading information online is becoming a widespread tool to harm civil society representatives. To ensure that new technologies support rather than undermine civic freedoms, civil society needs a deeper understanding of how AI and other emerging technologies work.
With this in mind, ICNL partnered with the Global Digital Policy Incubator (GDPi) at Stanford University to host the first-ever Tech Camp for civic space defenders. During the intensive three-day event, twenty-five participants from the Global South met with leading experts, including GDPi’s Executive Director Eileen Donahoe, GDPi Principal Investigator Larry Diamond, and former UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression David Kaye, among others. The group examined technologies from machine-learning to blockchain to discuss how they impact civil society, philanthropy, and civic space.