June 8, 2022 | Online

How can engineers, researchers, and funders work to advance mission-driven technology for human rights and research? Our Executive Director Kaitlin Thaney moderated a workshop at RightsCon 2022 titled "Path independent: forging new models of tech infrastructure through community participation" to hear stakeholders' perspectives on this question.

The session drew from work in civil society and academia, where technologists and researchers have been designing large-scale, industry-independent research in computer science and the social sciences to understand digital harms and their remedies. These developments rely on engineering to collect, house, and analyze sensitive data about human behaviour. These builders make choices affirmative of rights and equity, and our challenge is to highlight and sustain this work. Participants contributed in a session focused on the standards and practices of engineers seeking to make advances in more equitable research possible through infrastructure design for research, execution, security, and diverse participation.

This session was intended as a means to model what we hope would become the foundation for a community of practice of like-minded practitioners interested in collaborating on standards, practices, and norms for better human-oriented, values-driven public interest technology.

The panellists were:

  • Akshay Mehra, Neukom Postdoctoral Fellow, Dartmouth College
  • Bryan Nunez, Vice President of Technology, Open Technology Fund
  • Eric Pennington, Lead Data Architect, CATLab

For a summary of the discussion, please read this blog post by J. Nathan Matias, CATLab.

Posted by Emmy Tsang