Advancing human rights in the age of AI and the digital society

Housed at Essex University’s Human Rights Centre with partners worldwide, the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project considers the challenges and opportunities presented by AI, big data and associated technology from a human rights perspective.

Watch our video below to find out how AI can affect human rights.

What we do

How AI affects human rights

Identifying and assessing the risks and opportunities for human rights posed by artificial intelligence.

Ethics and regulation

Informing the governance and regulation of the design, development and use of big data, AI and emerging technology.

Accountability and remedies

Ensuring access to justice for individuals and groups.

Funded and supported by:

Our research areas

Algorithmic accountability

Developing a comprehensive approach for algorithmic accountability to protect human rights.


Addressing how data processing is often legitimized without consent being informed, freely given, or specific.

Corporate responsibility

Assessing current gaps in practice and accountability and ensuring that that individuals have access to effective remedies for human rights harms resulting from business practices.

Facial recognition

Investigating how facial recognition technology is used and its human rights implications.


Identifying opportunities and threats to the right to health in a new data-driven economy.

Humanitarian assistance

Developing new approaches to human rights and humanitarian work using computational techniques.

Intelligence oversight

Investigating how intelligence oversight techniques are being used and their utility in protecting human rights.

Law enforcement

Analysing the implications of police data and technology on human rights.

Mis and disinformation and deep fakes

Investigating how mis and disinformation are affecting human rights.

Open source investigations

Researching the ethical considerations that should be taken into account when conducting open source investigations for advocacy or legal accountability.

Latest news and events

  • Nov072019

    Upcoming Event – Your Data: Why Should You Care?

     3 December 2019 6.00 – 7.30 pm FirstSite, Colchester Admission is free and all are welcome to attend. Refreshments will…

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  • Sep102019

    HRBDT Public Panel Discussion: “Facial Recognition and Human Rights” 10 September 2019

    On 10 September the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project hosted a panel discussion at The Royal Society on…

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  • Aug142019

    BBC Radio 4 Interview – Facial Recognition

    Dr Daragh Murray was recently interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.  Daragh highlighted the human rights and public interest considerations…

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Our Partners

Queen Mary University of London
University of Cambridge
Eye Witness Media
Universal Rights Group
World Health Organisation
Geneva Academy