ICT & Human Rights: A Round Table Discussion at IADIS 2011 Conference

IADIS conference on ICT, Society and Human Beings, Rome, July 24-26, 2011

Proposal for a Joint Multi-conference Session

Title: ICT and Human Rights: A Round Table

Chair/Organizer: Olga Werby

Background and Purpose

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)—internet, web, and social media—are fast becoming a comprehensive repository and soon an archive of human knowledge. With access to ICT, an individual can become informed on everything from healthcare issues to civic problems to legal concerns. One hundred years ago, people were discussing the need for basic literacy and its impact on the human condition. Today, we should be discussing digital literacy and access in the same way. Digital literacy can be seen as a basic human right. Individuals can also impact society, react, and reach out. ICT is both a powerful tool for materializing human rights and is also challenging human rights.

I propose a Round Table Session, which is open to all participants of IADIS multi-conferences, to be titled “ICT and Human Rights.” This session would provide a forum on cross-disciplinary research and development, and action, in the fields of what rights are important and can be better facilitated by ICT in: e-Democracy, ICT and Society, e-Culture, e-Health, e-Learninghuman-computer interaction, and product design. It could also explore, very fundamentally, how ICT can improve access to weather and agriculture information, and other topics that would improve—if put to sound application—human rights around the world.

It has been my personal experience at IADIS that, while it is very valuable to have individual conferences that discuss the particulars of e-Democracy, for example, to have a place where people can introduce ideas from multiple disciplines is key to creating a momentum for real change in the human condition.

Sadly, there are few such opportunities for reflection, discussion, and the bringing together of possibilities for action (although “The Soul of the Machine” conference in Berkeley in 2009 serves as a good example of cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural forum).


An Open Table Discussion which would be facilitated by a chair; all presenters would have access to each others’ papers prior to the session; the round table would be open to all IADIS multi-conference attendees; an announcement of the event would be circulated to all conference attendees on their arrival at the conference.

Potential questions:

  • What is the overall purpose of a round table discussion on ICT & Human Rights?
  • How much do they differ globally or how much are they universal questions?
  • What could be the expected outcome from such a round table discussion i.e., academic, research, in communities, in terms of national or international policies, also technically and perhaps in terms of standardisation/guidelines?
  • What are the hot topics to be addressed in the table?


(so far)

Patrick Meier: Director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi, San Francisco Bay Area

Sangeeta Sharma: Professor of Public Administration at University of Rajasthan

Richard Steinberg: Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law and Director of Sanela Diana Jenkins Human Rights Project

Olga Werby: President at Pipsqueak Productions, LLC, San Francisco Bay Area


All members of the IADIS multi-conferences are welcome to participate.


Before the IADIS conference in Rome the Chair Olga Werby has started a LinkedIn group “ICT & Human Rights.” It has already shown keen interest in the concept of this round table.

Panelists will read each others papers/abstracts before the event in Rome. All other participants in the round table session will be provided with an e-link with recommendations for reading.


Above is a proposed logo for the ICT & Human Rights round table.

Please feel free to contribute ideas!

  3 comments for “ICT & Human Rights: A Round Table Discussion at IADIS 2011 Conference

  1. February 22, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    New links for the panel and conference:

  2. March 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    IADIS Conferences: http://www.iadisportal.org/ IADIS have scheduled a multi conference on computer science and information systems for 20 to 26th of July, 2011 in Rome, Italy.
    I’m hoping to organize an open table style discussion on ICT & Human Rights which will be open to all attendees from all of the conference sessions.

    Here’s a list of sub-conferences:

    ICT, Society and Human Beings 2011: http://www.ict-conf.org/

    Game and Entertainment Technologies 2011: http://www.gaming-conf.org/

    Informatics 2011: http://www.informatics-conf.org/

    e-Learning 2011: http://www.elearning-conf.org/

    e-Health 2011: http://www.ehealth-conf.org/

    Collaborative Technologies 2011: http://www.collaborativetech-conf.org/

    Interfaces and Human Computer Interaction 2011: http://www.ihci-conf.org/

    e-Democracy, Equity and Social Justice 2011: http://www.edemocracy-conf.org/

    Intelligent Systems and Agents 2011: http://www.isa-conf.org/

    Wireless Applications and Computing 2011: http://www.wac-conf.org/

    Web Based Communities and Social Media 2011: http://www.webcommunities-conf.org/

    Data Mining 2011: http://www.datamining-conf.org/

    Telecommunications, Networks and Systems 2011: http://www.tns-conf.org/

    e-Commerce 2011: http://www.ecommerce-conf.org/

    Computer Graphics, Visualization, Computer Vision and Image Processing 2011: http://www.cgv-conf.org/

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