Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow is leading a project that explores the impact and opportunities of new technologies to protect and promote our rights and freedoms. The project will look at:

  1. The challenges and opportunities for human rights of emerging technology.
  2. Innovative ways to ensure human rights are prioritised in the design and governance of emerging technologies.

We will report on and make recommendations for responsible innovation to protect human rights in Australia in 2019.



  • Hypothesise
    Discussion Paper released
    End of 2019
  • Iterate
    Consultations on Discussion Paper
    End of 2019/2020
  • Transmit
    Final Report with recommendations
    Mid 2020
  • Implement
    Work to apply recommendations



  • LAUNCH – Major conference on human rights & tech – 24 July 2018
  • LEARN – Issues Paper and White Paper released – July 2018
  • LISTEN – Consultations on Issues Paper and White Paper – August-December 2018  
  • HYPOTHESISE – Discussion Paper released - Early 2019 
  • ITERATE – Consultations on Discussion Paper - Mid 2019 
  • TRANSMIT – Final Report with recommendations - End of 2019 
  • IMPLEMENT – Work to apply recommendations – 2020

Current Issues

Through inclusive consultation we will identify some of the most pressing human rights issues in respect of new technology. 

We are exploring issues such as AI, bias, Big Data, inclusive technology and the intersection between technology, free speech and democracy. 

AI and Bias

Decision making and artificial intelligence

What is the impact of technology on human rights?

Responsible innovation

Responsible Innovation

How do we protect human rights in the digital age?

Inclusive design

Accessible Technology

How do we use tech for good?


Human Rights and Technology

How do we encourage responsible innovation of technology?

Expert Reference Group

We have appointed an Expert Reference Group to guide our work:

Amanda Alford - Director Policy and Advocacy

Amanda Alford

Director Policy, NACLC

The Honourable Justice Margaret Beazley AO

Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AO AC

Governor of New South Wales

Professor Genevieve Bell

Prof. Genevieve Bell

3A Institute ANU

Kwok Tang

Kwok Tang

Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills

Dr Tobias Feakin

Dr Tobias Feakin

Australian Ambassador for Cyber Affairs

Dr Alan Finkel AO, Chief Scientist of Australia

Dr Alan Finkel AO

Chief Scientist of Australia

Verity Firth, Executive Director

Verity Firth

ED, Social Justice, UTS

Peter Leonard, Principal

Peter Leonard

Data Synergies, Gilbert + Tobin

Brooke Massender, Head of Pro Bono

Brooke Massender

Head of Pro Bono, Herbert Smith Freehills

Sean Murphy, Accessibility Software Engineer, Cisco

Sean Murphy

Accessibility Engineer, Cisco

Myfanwy Wallwork, Executive Director, Emerging Markets & Corporate, LexisNexis Pacific

Myfanwy Wallwork

ED, Emerging Markets, LexisNexis

Professor Toby Walsh, Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence

Dr Toby Walsh

Professor of AI, UNSW and Data61