Rights on the line: Big Tech and the future of human rights

Key information

5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
Main Building, SOAS University of London

About this event

Big Tech poses an unprecedented threat to our human rights. In recent years, social media companies have fueled genocides, helped to entrench authoritarian governments, and supercharged the global rise of the far-right. Meanwhile, social media addiction is fuelling a mental health crisis and limiting our prospects for collective political action and transformative change. 

In this talk, Pat de Brún, Head of Big Tech Accountability for Amnesty International and Deputy Director of Amnesty’s global technology and human rights programme, will provide a critical exploration of the root causes for these intersecting global crises, followed by a discussion on the strategies we can undertake to resist and challenge the dominance of Big Tech.

About the speaker

Pat de Brún is Head of Big Tech Accountability for Amnesty International and Deputy Director of Amnesty's global technology and human rights programme.  His work seeks to expose and challenge the insidious surveillance-based business model which underpins tech giants such as Google, Meta and TikTok. 

His research has uncovered the role that Facebook's algorithms played in fuelling the Rohingya genocide and called attention to Big Tech's censorship of pro-democracy activists in Vietnam. He is currently undertaking a part-time PhD at SOAS School of Law focused on queer activism in Cambodia.

Reading materials:

  • Amnesty International, ‘Surveillance Giants: How the business model of Google and Facebook threatens human rights’
  • Amnesty International, The Social Atrocity: Meta and the right to remedy for the Rohingya’
  • Shoshana Zuboff, ‘The Age of Surveillance Capitalism’ in Social Theory Rewired, 2023, pp. 204-213