Edited by Jacob H. Rooksby
Edited by Jacob H. Rooksby
Rachel Adams and Nóra Ní Loideáin
Virtual personal assistants (VPAs) are increasingly becoming a common aspect of everyday living. However, with female names, voices and characters, these devices appear to reproduce harmful gender stereotypes about the role of women in society and the type of work women perform. Designed to ‘assist’, VPAs – such as Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa – reproduce and reify the idea that women are subordinate to men, and exist to be ‘used’ by men. Despite their ubiquity, these aspects of their design have seen little critical attention in scholarship, and the potential legal responses to this issue have yet to be fully canvassed. Accordingly, this article sets out to critique the reproduction of negative gender stereotypes in VPAs and explores the provisions and findings within international women's rights law to assess both how this constitutes indirect discrimination and possible means for redress. In this regard, this article explores the obligation to protect women from discrimination at the hands of private actors under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the work of the Committee on Discrimination Against Women on gender stereotyping. With regard to corporate human rights responsibilities, the role of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights is examined, as well as domestic enforcement mechanisms for international human rights norms and standards, noting the limitations to date in enforcing human rights compliance by multinational private actors.
Eirini Kikarea and Maayan Menashe
Physical, informational and now digital infrastructure features throughout Nation-State consolidation and imperial extension, in war preparedness and war logistics, in resource extraction and energy capture and transit, in each quantum step in economic globalisation, in mass migrations and religious missions, in the global scaling of finance and financialisation, in the global digital economy, in artificial intelligence (AI) and robots, in economic development strategies and in China's vast Belt and Road Initiative. International law has largely aligned with these enterprises, but has seemed not effectively to address massive anthropocenic degradation, AI, new biotech, and the human and planetary consequences of extractive capitalism. Science and technology studies, and work extending from Bruno Latour and Susan Leigh Star to governance-by-prototype and ‘new materialism’, have generated rich insights about infrastructure. These are being extended to ‘infrastructure as regulation’ (the infra-reg project). This paper explores implications for reinvigorating deliberative forward-planning international law projects to address technologically driven transformation, which follow from ‘thinking infrastructurally’.
Shannon Raj Singh
This article considers the application of international criminal law to the role of social media entities in fuelling atrocity crimes, and the legal theories that could be most valuable in fostering their accountability. While incitement of atrocity crimes is one way of framing social media's role in fomenting conflict, this paper argues that it may be more productive to conceptualise social media's role in atrocity crimes through the lens of complicity, drawing inspiration not from the media cases in international criminal law jurisprudence, but rather by evaluating the use of social media as a weapon, which, under certain circumstances, ought to face accountability under international criminal law.
M R Leiser
A historical analysis of the regulation of propaganda and obligations on States to prevent its dissemination reveals competing origins of the protection (and suppression) of free expression in international law. The conflict between the ‘marketplace of ideas’ approach favoured by Western democracies and the Soviet Union's proposed direct control of media outlets have indirectly contributed to both the fake-news crisis and engineered polarisation via computational propaganda. From the troubled League of Nations to the Friendly Relations Declaration of 1970, several international agreements and resolutions limit State use of propaganda to interfere with ‘malicious intent’ in the affairs of another. Yet State and non-State actors continually use a variety of methods to disseminate deceptive content sowing civil discord and damaging democracies in the process. In Europe, much of the discourse about the regulation of ‘fake news’ has revolved around the role of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation and the role of platforms in preventing ‘online manipulation’. There is also a common perception that human rights frameworks limit States' ability to constrain political speech; however, using the principle of subsidiarity as a mapping tool, a regulatory anomaly is revealed. There is a significant lack of regulatory oversight of actors responsible for, and the flow of, computational propaganda that is disseminated as deceptive political advertising. The article examines whether there is a right to disseminate propaganda within our free expression rights and focuses on the harms associated with the engineered polarisation that is often the objective of a computational propaganda campaign. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of maintaining this status quo and some suggestions for plugging the regulatory holes identified.