ONLINE EVENT: New technologies—Do They Strengthen or Weaken the Rule of Law and Human Rights?


This post is also available in: Spanish

The rapid evolution of new technologies that directly impact people’s lives has required the development of norms, protocols, and public policies that facilitate the implementation of these new technologies without affecting rule of law and human rights norms. The pandemic has greatly accelerated the development of these new policies, particularly technology involving education, telehealth, and telework. There have also been advancements in policies affecting public sector activities, such as crime control, regulations on the use of facial recognition, and the impact of technology in elections. The rapid development of technology’s use in private and public issues raises the question these new technologies are compatible with the rule of law and human rights, as defined and conceptualized in international law. 

In San Francisco, the cradle of technological progress, legislation was approved that prohibits the use of facial recognition technology because it was considered to violate people’s privacy, impact the protection of minors, and contributes to discrimination, and a study from the Georgetown Center for Privacy and Technology found that police face recognition technology will disproportionately affect African Americans. This study points to the fact that due to disproportionately high arrest rates systems that rely on mug shot databases likely include a disproportionate number of African Americans, and no independent testing regime for racially biased error rates exists today.

Electric Frontier Foundation, an organization dedicated to protecting people’s digital rights, wrote in a 2019 report: “While technology has been used to mobilize citizens, denounce violence, and share security and legal advice for protestors in countries like Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia, technology-related measures have also been used to censor, deter and surveil demonstrators.” 

There have been similar conclusions regarding electronic voting. The technological elements of voting have progressed substantially, where much of our voting systems are now controlled electronically. Some experts have, however, expressed concern with electronic voting and the possibilities of unwanted manipulations of digital votes.

Keeping in mind the previous examples, analyzing the use of new technologies isn’t just a theoretical exercise-—it can have a concrete impact on the rule of law and respect for human rights. 

To address these issues, the webinar will attempt to answer the following: 

  • What are the challenges and risks of technology with respect to human rights and the rule of law?
  • Are there examples of concrete cases in Latin America?
  • How does technology influence electoral processes?
  • What essential aspects should governments consider when designing policy or laws concerning technology? 

In this event, co-organized by the Inter-American Dialogue and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, our panelists will consider the rapid progress of technology, its implications for society, and the regulations that are being proposed with experts from Latin America.

Participants are invited to submit questions using the “Q&A” feature on Zoom. You can also submit questions using the event’s hashtag on Twitter or by sending questions to 

Follow the event on Twitter at #NuevasTecnologiasLAC and @The_Dialogue. 

The meeting will be held in Spanish. There is simultaneous interpretation in English for those joining the event via Zoom.  

Watch live here: 



President, Inter-American Dialogue 


Member of the Assembly of the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights, Professor Emeritus, Notre Dame Law School 



Regional Coordinator, Derechos Digitales


Director, Fundación Karisma 


Director, Program of Political Institutions, CIPPEC 



Representative and Coordinator, Regional Office for South America, Inter-American Institute for Human Rights 



Director, Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program, Inter-American Dialogue 



This event is hosted in partnership with the Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos 

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