Freedom of Thought and Opinion in the Digital Age

Panellists, including David Kaye and Anna Lembke, unpack where the line between legitimate influence and unlawful manipulation of the mind should be drawn and assess how governments can regulate for this.

Members event
3 December 2020 — 6:00PM TO 7:00PM

New technologies are increasingly being used by external actors to nudge human behaviour and manipulate and capitalize on human opinions. While freedom of thought and opinion are widely accepted as absolute rights under international human rights law, their implications for technology have not yet been pinpointed, unpacked and addressed. At present, there exist few or no regulatory frameworks or governance structures to define and safeguard mental autonomy. Against this backdrop, the need to appropriately protect such freedoms is becoming increasingly clear.

This webinar offers a space for public debate on the meaning and protection of freedom of thought and opinion in a 21st century context. What is our cultural understanding of thought and has it developed since first accounted for in international law frameworks? How can freedom of thought and opinion inform how we set limits on technology so that it does not unduly damage children’s mental development and our own ability to think for ourselves? Where should we draw the line between legitimate influence and unlawful manipulation of the mind? And how can we compel and regulate tech companies, political actors, businesses and citizens alike to safeguard freedom of thought and opinion?

This members’ event will draw upon insights gathered at an International Law Programme expert roundtable on this topic earlier on the same day’.

As with all Chatham House events, members’ questions drive the conversation. Register now to share, debate and develop ideas on this critical international issue. This event is for Chatham House members only.

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