The potential of big data and new technologies in human rights research

In the context of human rights, new technologies are most commonly discussed specifically with respect to their risks to privacy and data protection. In the field of migration, European databases such as the Schengen Information System (SIS) and the Visa Information System (VIS) hold tens of millions of pieces of migrants’ data, putting their privacy at risk and casting a shadow of criminal suspicion over border crossers. The revelations of Edward Snowden disclosing global surveillance programmes and the work of organisations such as WikiLeaks and Statewatch leave no doubt as to the risks of new technologies and big datasets and the need for adequate safeguards for the protection of basic rights.

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