29 October 2021
Welcome to our latest weekly roundup! This week we wanted to look at some of the organisations working hard to improve the tech space.
Fight for the Future
Fight for the Future is an advocacy organisation who want to see the internet as an environment for progressive change. They have held many campaigns to defend people’s rights and privacy online, from SpeakOut.tech on whistleblowing about unethical tech companies, to banning facial recognition software.
New_Public explores what the internet would be like with digital public spaces, similar to the concepts of parks and libraries offline. They want to understand what makes a digital space healthy, and identified a variety of “civic signals” in their research, like Connect (the ability of people to connect with each other online and create power) and Act (using that power to effect change, online and off).
Center for Humane Technology
This organisation wants technology to be more humane, and originated the Time Well Spent campaign, a call to tech companies to consider how their technology could make users’ time online healthier and more positive. The Center for Humane Technology has also called for greater tech regulation, realising that some of the large tech companies are incapable of making change themselves. Finally, they recently released The Social Dilemma, a film exploring troubling aspects of legacy social media companies and how they manipulate our attention.
While the internet has been a lifeline to the LGBTQ+ community, allowing them a way of connecting with each other no matter their location, tech companies have also not addressed the specific issues this group face online, such as privacy violations. LGBT Tech campaigns on privacy, conducts research on LGBTQ+ people in tech, and their use of tech, and also runs PowerOn, ensuring that disadvantaged LGBTQ+ people can access tech.
Feminist Internet combines tech and art to promote equality and an ethical vision of the internet. They’ve designed and created several chatbots, including Maru, who gives advice and resources to tackle online harassment, and F’xa, who provides information on bias in AI. They have also created films and contributed to talks on antisemitism in memes and queering voices in AI.
This charity wants to make the internet safer for women and marginalised communities by ending online harassment. Glitch developed a tool to track abuse on Twitter and worked on the report The Ripple Effect, which highlighted the increase in online abuse faced by women and non-binary people during Covid-19. They have also provided training and support to Black Lives Matter activists. Recently, they have been contributing to the debate around the Online Safety Bill, and helping young people to engage with digital citizenship, and how their behaviour online can affect others.
All Tech Is Human
All Tech Is Human is a non-profit aiming to build a better future for tech through Responsible Tech. They have gathered a wide range of people to reduce toxic technology, encourage diversity, and ensure that technology represents everyone. They have released the Responsible Tech Guide, as well as a report on Improving Social Media, and hold a regular livestream discussing issues in tech. All Tech Is Human also has a mentoring programme and jobs board to help people develop ethical careers in technology.
Events in Tech
- From 1 to 4 November, the Web Summit is being held in Lisbon with over 700 speakers, including actor and founder Amy Poehler and Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.
- UCLA Institute for Technology, Law & Policy are hosting a series of conversations on “Power & Accountability in Tech”, from 1 to 5 November.
- At 14:00 GMT, the Data Science Institute at Columbia University is holding “Race + Data Science: Deen Freelon, UNC Chapel Hill”.
- “Foreign Meddling & Disinformation: State Actors Threat to Democracy” is being held at 17:00 GMT by The Parliamentary Centre.
- At 18:00 GMT, the Social Media Lab at Ted Rogers School Of Management is hosting their fourth guest speaker talk “Studying the COVID-19 Infodemic at Scale”.