LexisNexis is supporting the Australian Human Rights Commission as a project partner in a landmark inquiry into the challenges to our rights and freedoms presented by technologies such as artificial intelligence, social media, and big data.

The new project will be launched at the International Human Rights and Technology conference on July 24 with the release of an Issues Paper. This paper will support a broad community consultation phase that will run from August until late 2018 and incorporate expert and key stakeholder roundtables across capital cities in Australia.

Myfanwy Wallwork, executive director emerging markets & corporate, LexisNexis Australia, said “The recent implementation of GDPR legislation and the Cambridge Analytica scandal have brought the topic of data, technology and human rights to the forefront of popular debate.  We have also seen examples where technology and the legislature can complement each other to support the protection of human rights, such as the use of blockchain to identify provenance of goods and services as part of the new Modern Slavery Act reporting requirements.

“We’re honoured to be partnering with the Commission to work towards a comprehensive understanding of the human rights-related issues within rise of new technologies and create a pragmatic framework in which our rights and freedoms can be protected.”

Following the release of the Issues Paper, the Commission will welcome input from industry, academic experts, civil society, and government to inform a Discussion Paper to be published in early 2019. This paper will make detailed recommendations of solutions to challenges precipitated by continual technological innovation as well as identify mechanisms in which technology can entrench the protection of rights.

LexisNexis Australia General Manager, Simon Wilkins, said “Our goal as a project partner is to assist in the creation of a governance model with the mandate to monitor responsible innovation, particularly relating to the deployment of AI and related data driven technologies.

“This model will ensure that technologies such as machine learning are able to benefit society and businesses without having negative impacts. Data driven and AI based technologies must be developed in a way that promotes transparency and fairness for all, and ensure that existing inequalities are not reinforced.”

The Commission’s final report and recommendations will be released in late 2019 and will provide the Australian government with a framework to protect rights and freedoms in an age facing new challenges presented by technology.