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A New Class of the ‘Tech Left-Behind’

The Report Roundup

A recent report suggests that while tech today is advantageous for some, the culture behind it debases the core tenets of human dignity.

The Report Roundup is a curated list for policymakers, practitioners, and community activists working at the intersection of technology and civil society.

01. Integrated Advocacy: Paths Forward for Digital Civil Society

A report from the Digital Civil Society Lab looks at how the social sector is evolving to address policy issues in a time when technology is “entwined in every aspect of our individual and collective lives.” Focused on building sustainable coalitions for short and long-term change, it considers “how to strengthen, expand and diversify the practical connections between civil society support organizations and digital policy experts.”

02. An Emerging Class of the ‘Tech Left-Behind’

People, Power and Technology: The 2020 Digital Attitudes Report draws on groundbreaking research, a national survey, and focus group series for a better look at the public’s relationship with tech. Doteveryone’s Martha Lane Fox opens on a troubling note: “Although people’s digital understanding has grown, that’s not helping them to shape their online experiences in line with their own wishes.” The report reveals an antagonistic relationship between people and the companies who claim to serve them, and suggests that while tech today is more powerful and predictive for some, the culture behind that technology debases the core tenets of human dignity, “risking the creation of a new class of the ‘tech left-behind.'”

03. Misinformation: It’s in the Business Model

Why is Silicon Valley flooded with misinformation? It’s the business model, according to a recent report from Ranking Digital Rights. Drawing on five years of research for the Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index, the report suggests that targeted advertising and the algorithmic systems that drive it are allowing hate speech and misinformation to proliferate unchecked. Aimed at US policymakers and others interested in regulating big tech, the report advocates adopting a human rights framework for platform accountability, in order to mitigate the harms of misinformation without sacrificing civil liberties in the process.

04. Implications of Using Tech to Transition from COVID-19

With input from more than twenty experts across a range of domains, a recent report from Ada Lovelace Institute aims to support public agencies and lawmakers as tech solutions are adopted in response to COVID-19. The report features recommendations for policymakers and tech developers, and includes a list of criteria for apps to be considered for national policy, tip sheets, provisos for contact tracing apps, and more.

05. Strategy, a Guide Star During Uncertain Times

The Technology Association of Grantmakers (TAG) shares recommendations for community foundations as they face increased competition for funding. Based on insights from IT leaders at community foundations across North America, the report finds that IT isn’t as integral to organizational strategy as it should be. The report considers four stages of integrating IT in organizational strategy formulation, and outlines key actions for community foundations as they move from one stage to the next.

06. Two Years Under the GDPR

Weak enforcement of the GDPR is a “critical threat” to the regulation’s efficacy, according to a progress report from Access Now. The report considers how global crises have impacted implementation ahead of the regulation’s first official review in 2020. Estelle Massé who authored the report writes, “At the center of the success or failure of the GDPR are the Data Protection Authorities… The European Union may have the best law in the world for the protection of personal data, but if it is not enforced, it risks being as useful as a chocolate teapot.” Includes detailed recommendations.

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