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Tue, Dec 12



DataBody Futures

Imagining a digital world that centres our integrity

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DataBody Futures
DataBody Futures

Time & Location

Dec 12, 2023, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM GMT


About the event

Data-driven technologies are reshaping our understanding of the human body and create unprecedented access to our innermost thoughts and feelings.

Access to such data could be the soil for important scientific exploration, especially in clinical research. But our current reality is a sea of technologies that cause more harm than good by normalizing everyday surveillance and abuse. In the absence of strong industry regulations, some emerging tech solutions pose significant risks to our individual and collective well-being. There are silicone wristbands that notify employers about their staff’s mood changes, mental health apps that sell people’s deepest anxieties to third party companies, extended reality applications that facilitate all sorts of digital abuse, and more. 

In order to course correct, we need more structured evidence, a movement of changemakers and a clear roadmap for reform. 

If you would like to be a part of the work, join us for the first DataBody Futures conversation that will take place online on December 12, at 4.00 pm GMT / 11.00 am EST. 

In this workshop we will explore the bodily implications of emerging technologies, share meaningful community resistance techniques, and establish joint vocabularies. Julia Keseru will provide a brief presentation on the DataBody Integrity project which combines cross-disciplinary research with community building. Participants will also hear from professors Brittan Heller, founder of the Center for Digital Civil Rights who has done path-breaking research on immersive technologies, and Seeta Peña Gangadharan, co-founder of the Our Data Bodies project. After the presentations, participants will work in small thematic groups to envision digital futures where bodily integrity is better protected, and identify concrete areas where there is potential to incorporate this important angle into ongoing work. 

When: December 12, 4.00-5.30 pm (GMT) / 11.00-12.30 am (EST) 

Where: Online (Details will be shared prior to the event, pending registration) 

Working language: English



Brittan Heller works at the intersection of technology, human rights and the law. She is currently a lecturer at Stanford University and a visiting scholar at Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, examining XR's connection to society, human rights, privacy, and security. Heller is on the steering committee for the World Economic Forum's Metaverse Governance initiative and studied content moderation in XR as an inaugural AI and Tech Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Carr Center for Human Rights. She is a visiting fellow at the Yale Information Society Project, a Senior Non-Residential Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab, and an affiliate at the Stanford Program on Democracy and the Internet.

Julia Keseru works at the crossroads of emerging digital technologies, social justice and activism. She is the Executive Director of The Engine Room and Senior Tech Policy Fellow at the Mozilla Foundation. Keseru led and contributed to a number of research projects that explored the role of data-driven systems in social justice movements, including research on predictive analytics tools, biometrics technologies and access to information regimes. Over the past 15 years she advised hundreds of organisations on their data and technology strategies, advocated for reform around tech regulation and data rights, and led diverse global teams at The Engine Room to create a healthier and safer online ecosystem. 

Seeta Peña Gangadharan is Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her work focuses on inclusion, exclusion and marginalization, as well as questions around democracy, social justice, and technological governance. She is the co-founder of the Our Data Bodies project, which examines the impact of data collection and data-driven technologies on members of marginalized communities in the United States. Gangadharan is an Affiliated Fellow of Yale Law School’s Information Society Project and the Data & Society Research Institute.

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