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What Does a Billionaire Buying a Social Media Platform Mean for People?

Billionaire Elon Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” is set to buy Twitter. Human Rights Watch has already been critical of how Twitter and other social media platforms aren’t doing enough to respect the rights of their users. Amy…
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Russian authorities have assigned “state system” status to the country’s uniform biometric database (UBS). The system aims to confirm identity in online banking and primarily consisted of bank clients’ facial images and voice samples. The new status (…
A young man wearing a face mask checks his mobile phone at the State Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg, May 26, 2020.
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The Covid-19 pandemic in the United States has left millions of people struggling to make ends meet. Massive government spending, especially the stimulus checks, has provided crucial relief. But the checks are just a band-aid for a U.S. social safety…
Gina Stanton, of the Homewood neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, attends a rally held by the Mon Valley  Unemployed Committee and Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid Group at Governor Tom Wolf’s regional office on March 10, 2021, downtown Pittsburgh.
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For the past three years, I have shopped and delivered food for Instacart to thousands of homes and businesses in the San Francisco area. I rarely take a day off and usually work seven days a week. But I struggle to make ends meet, no matter how hard…
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Californians will soon be voting on Prop 22—an initiative that would remove protections for gig workers and could drive them into financial hardship.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the tech-driven transformation of the grocery industry. Many Californians shunning brick-and-mortar stores for fear of catching the virus continue to rely on workers hired by online ordering apps to pick…
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Andrei Soldatov, interviewed by Human Rights Watch in April, is an investigative journalist, nonfiction writer and a top expert on Russia’s security services. His book “The Red Web,” co-authored with Irina Borogan, tells the story of the Russian internet…
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On May 29, Russian state media reported that the authorities are considering introducing an app that migrant workers would have to download when they enter the country, once the borders re-open after the COVID-19 lockdown. Little is known about the…
Shadows of people detained by Russian police, suspected of violating immigration rules during an action seen on containers at a street market in Moscow, Russia, August 7, 2013. © AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
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Amid protests against racism and police brutality in Minneapolis, Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington likened police investigations of arrested protesters and their associates to contact tracing for COVID-19. This reckless analogy…
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If you’re worried about how facial recognition technology is being used, you should be. And things are about to get a lot scarier unless new regulation is put in place. Already, this technology is being used in many U.S. cities and…
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On December 10, the world marks 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Regrettably, instead of the anniversary signalling the enduring impact of human rights, some are fearing the “end of human rights.” Here we…
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Human Judgment and Responsibility in the Age of Technology

This month we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To mark the occasion, we have asked Human Rights Watch experts to reflect on some of the key human rights challenges in their area of specialty…
Sophia the Robot, Chief Humanoid, Hanson Robotics & SingularityNET, on the Centre Stage during the opening day of Web Summit 2017 at Altice Arena in Lisbon
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Much concern has been raised, for good reason, about President Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to head the Central Intelligence Agency. Haspel allegedly was involved in reckless, illegal torture under the agency’s “rendition,…
Gina Haspel, a veteran CIA clandestine officer picked by U.S. President Donald Trump to head the Central Intelligence Agency, is shown in this handout photograph released on March 13, 2018. © 2018 CIA handout
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It is a rare law enforcement officer or intelligence agent who doesn’t want access to more information. Yet total information awareness, to use a term from the George W. Bush administration era, has never been possible. Some people whisper to avoid prying…
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Outrageous Provisions to Curb Speech, Privacy, Freedom of Conscience

UPDATE: On July 7, 2016, President Putin signed the Yarovaya bill into law. UPDATE (June 24, 2016): The revised bill was finally published on the morning of June 24, the day of the voting. The lawmakers did eliminate the provisions on stripping Russian…
State Duma, the lower house of parliament, in session in Moscow, Russia on April 19, 2016.
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It is now widely acknowledged that after the 9/11 attacks in the US, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) began a global detention and interrogation program through which it tortured and abused prisoners. Yet the US government has failed to hold…
Illustration of the scales of justice replaced by two people shackled by their wrists and dangling in the air.
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The Russian government's excessive control over social media made international headlines last week. The state media oversight agency, at the request of prosecutors, forced the popular social network Facebook to block a support page for a Russian…
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In any normal case, in any ordinary court, judges hold preliminary hearings to narrow the issues and move the case closer to trial. But there is nothing ordinary about the prosecution of the five men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. And the…
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It would be hard to overstate the extent to which Edward Snowden’s disclosures about U.S. mass surveillance techniques in the post-9/11 period have shaken up geo-political dynamics on Internet freedom, security and governance over the past year. …
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