Tackling Cyber Disinformation in Elections: Applying International Human Rights Law

This event brings together a wide range of stakeholders including civil society, the tech sector, legal experts and government to launch a new Chatham House paper.

Research event Recording
6 November 2019 — 5:30PM TO 7:00PM
Chatham House | 10 St James's Square | London | SW1Y 4LE

Cyber operations are increasingly used by political parties, their supporters and foreign states to influence electorates – from algorithms promoting specific messages to micro-targeting based on personal data and the creation of filter bubbles.

The risks of digital tools spreading disinformation and polarizing debate, as opposed to deepening democratic engagement, have been highlighted by concerns over cyber interference in the UK’s Brexit referendum, the 2016 US presidential elections and in Ukraine.

While some governments are adopting legislation in an attempt to address some of these issues, for example Germany’s ‘NetzDG’ law and France’s ‘Law against the manipulation of information’, other countries have proposed an independent regulator as in the case of the UK’s Online Harms white paper. Meanwhile, the digital platforms, as the curators of content, are under increasing pressure to take their own measures to address data mining and manipulation in the context of elections.

  • How do international human rights standards, for example on freedom of thought, expression and privacy, guide the use of digital technology in the electoral context?

  • What practical steps can governments and technology actors take to ensure policies, laws and practices are in line with these fundamental standards?

  • And with a general election looming in the UK, will these steps come soon enough?

This event brings together a wide range of stakeholders including civil society, the tech sector, legal experts and government, coincides with the publication of a Chatham House research paper on disinformation, elections and the human rights framework.


Susie Alegre, Barrister and Associate Tenant, Doughty Street Chambers
Evelyn Aswad, Professor of Law and the Herman G. Kaiser Chair in International Law, University of Oklahoma
Barbora Bukovská, Senior Director for Law and Policy, Article 19
Kate Jones, Director, Diplomatic Studies Programme, University of Oxford
Chair: Harriet Moynihan, Associate Fellow, International Law Programme, Chatham House

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