The Internet of Humans : Human Rights and Co-Governance to Achieve Tech Justice in the City

The Law and Ethics of Human Rights 13 (2):263-299 (2019)
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Abstract

Internet of Things, Internet of Everything and Internet of People are concepts suggesting that objects, devices, and people will be increasingly interconnected through digital infrastructure that will generate a growing gathering of data. Parallel to this development is the celebration of the smart city and sharing city as urban policy visions that by relying heavily on new technologies bear the promise of efficient and thriving cities. Law and policy scholarship have either focused on questions related to privacy, discrimination, security, or issues related to the production and use of big data, digital public services. Little or no attention has been paid to the disruptive impact of technological development on urban governance and city inhabitants’ rights of equal access, participation, management and even ownership, in order to understand whether and how technology can also enhance the protection of human rights and social justice in the city. This Article proposes complementing the technological and digital infrastructure with a legal and governance infrastructure, the Internet of Humans, by construing and injecting in the policy framework of the city the principle of Tech Justice. Building on a literature review and from an analysis of selected case studies, this Article stresses the dichotomy existing between the market-based and the society-based applications of technology, the first likely to increase the digital divide and the challenges to human rights in the city, the latter bearing the promise to promote equal access to technology in the city. The main argument advanced by this Article is that the principle of Tech Justice if embedded as an empirical dimension of smart city and sharing city policies can steer their developments in the direction of a more just and democratic city.

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