Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch) Press Kit

About the 2019 GISWatch on artificial intelligence and human rights

The theme of this year’s edition of the Global Information Society Watch is "Artificial intelligence: Human rights, social justice and development". APC, in partnership with ARTICLE 19, is publishing a series of reports with authors and researchers from over 40 different countries and different areas of expertise to help move the conversation on AI into a more global and inclusive one, with an emphasis on countries in the global South.


Download the full edition of the GISWatch 2019 on “Artificial intelligence: Human rights, social justice and development” here.

Spanish translations of the reports available here

Follow our Twitter chats with the authors with the #GISWatch and #AIandHumanRights hashtags.

More information on the GISWatch website.

Below you will find what some of the GISWatch authors say about AI in their reports:

“The use of automated technology can serve to perpetuate structural and administrative violence against those who are socially excluded and financially disenfranchised. AI in Australia

“We, the platform workers, have to organise ourselves. If this is the economy of the future, how could it be that we work in such precarious conditions? If this is the future of the economy, we will have to build the unions of the future. AI in Argentina

“For civil society organisations to successfully advocate for their interests, they must engage in the technical language of algorithms and mathematical formulas. AI in Poland

“This gap between stated ethical principles and on-the-ground applications of AI is not unique to China and can be observed in many other countries, including supposed liberal democracies in the West.“ AI in China

“In particular, female workers, who are at the bottom of the production process and are often engaged in repetitive tasks, are at the greatest risk of losing their jobs in this sector.“ AI in Bangladesh

“This misuse of AI technology represents a clear danger to humanity on many fronts. Algorithms cannot as yet make perfect decisions, especially in varying warfare conditions.“ AI in Russia

“A large number of students with dreams to become national and global leaders in software development face challenges ranging from a lack of facilities and exposure to competition from expatriate IT experts.“ AI in Rwanda

“Just like the alchemists, telcos are collating precious registration data alongside other data that would have been considered useless decades ago.“ AI in Uganda

“The respondents feared that AI could result in oppression, while the most pessimistic predict the possibility of establishing an AI dictatorship and the destruction of human civilisation. AI in Ukraine

“The use of AI in the socioeconomic development of Venezuela, in some cases, has only just started and has responded to specific needs that are the result of the humanitarian social crisis in the country.“ AI in Venezuela

“How will the work of health practitioners change given the use of AI and robots? Who will assume responsibility when mistakes are made by robots or algorithms?“ AI in Costa Rica

“Smart cities are currently envisaged and framed as a business opportunity. In the process, we have lost sight of the responsibility of the state in smart cities.“ AI in India

“Is the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) the panacea for many of the ills of the developing world, or is AI a Trojan horse to facilitate invasion, the smallpox blankets of the new colonialism?“ AI in the Caribbean

“If this continues, in a few years, we will not be able to continue working in Africa because we do not have the necessary skills in this area." AI in Benin

Contacts for the media:

1) Leila Nachawati – Media outreach lead: leila@apc.orgsssssssss

2) Maja Romano – GISWatch project coordinator:

GISWatch Q and A:

What is the Global Information Society Watch? 

GISWatch is a space for collaborative monitoring of implementation of international and national commitments made by governments towards the creation of an inclusive information society. It is a worldwide network of watchers, civil society activists monitoring the state of information and communications-related policies and how they affect their societies, positively and negatively. The network jointly publishes a book collecting thematic, regional and country reports. 

What does GISWatch focus on? 

It focuses on monitoring progress made towards implementing the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) action agenda and other international and national commitments related to information and communications. It also provides analytical overviews of institutions involved in implementation. 

So is it a publication? 

Yes, but not only. GISWatch is also a process and a network of civil society activists who advocate for policy focused on human rights and sustainable development both nationally and internationally.

What is the ultimate goal of this process/network?

GISWatch aims to make governments and international organisations accountable for meeting the commitments they make.

Who launched this initiative?

GISWatch is an initiative of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and partners. It follows up on APC's long-term interest in the impact of civil society on governance processes and its efforts to enhance public participation in national and international forums.

How many editions have been launched so far?

Twelve regular GISWatch editions have been launched to date. Seven special GISWatch editions have also been published.

How many country reports does an edition include?

The average number of country reports in each edition is 47.

How many authors have written for GISWatch?

A total of 566 authors have written for GISWatch to date.

​​​​​​GISWatch in the press. Some highlights: 

GISWatch wins WSIS project prize from the International Telecommunications Unit (by Hivos)

Freshly released GISWatch reports address surveillance (by Access Now)

13 Principles Week of Action: Secret Law is Not Law (by EFF)

Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales: ¿Cuál es su relación con internet? (by Nueva Tribuna)

Cybersouth Project Targets Cybercrime in Morocco (by Morocco World News) 

African countries cautiously embrace Artificial Intelligence (by africanews)

Creating inclusive information societies in the age of AI: GIS Watch 2019 report launch (by United Nations University Institute in Macau)

The Gender Storm Over Artificial Intelligence @ the 2019 Berlin Internet Governance Forum (by Intervention)

​​​​​​​Previous GISWatch editions:

See the covers of GISWatch editions per year: 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019

See videos and coverage of the 2019 GISWatch launch here.

See videos and coverage of the 2018 GISWatch launch here.

GISWatch 2019 looks at the intersection between artificial intelligence (AI) and human rights, social justice and development. While pointing to the positive use of AI to enable rights in ways that were not easily possible before, this edition of GISWatch highlights the real threats that we need to pay attention to if we are going to build an AI-embedded future that enables human dignity.

GISWatch 2018 focuses on local access models, specifically, community networks as self-organised, self-managed or locally developed solutions for local access. The research draws on the idea that one of the keys to affordable access is giving local people the skills and tools to solve their own connectivity challenges.

GISWatch 2017 focuses on National and Regional Internet Governance Forum Initiatives (NRIs), now widely recognised as a vital element of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) process. A special edition of GISWatch was published as a companion edition to the 2017 GISWatch annual report, called “Internet governance from the edges – NRIs in their own words”.

Another 2017 special edition brings together analysis on the criminalisation of online expression from six Asian states: Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Thailand.

GISWatch 2016 illustrates the link between the internet and economic, social and cultural rights (ESCRs).

GISWatch 2015 presents stories from around the world on how the politics of sex and sexual rights activism take place online.

GISWatch 2014 tracks the state of communications surveillance around the world.

GISWatch 2013 explores women’s rights and gender through the lens of information and communications technologies, covering issues such as access to infrastructure, participation, online disobedience and sexuality online.

GISWatch 2012 focuses on internet and corruption online, including institutional reviews and mapping.

GISWatch 2011 focuses on internet rights as human rights. 

GISWatch 2010 addresses ICTs and environmental sustainability.

GISWatch 2009 reports on access to online information and knowledge – advancing human rights and democracy.

GISWatch 2008 tracks access to ICT infrastructure.

GISWatch 2007 explores citizen participation in ICT policy processes.


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​About APC

APC is an international network of civil society organisations founded in 1990 dedicated to empowering and supporting people working for peace, human rights, development and protection of the environment, through the strategic use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). We work to build a world in which all people have easy, equal and affordable access to the creative potential of ICTs to improve their lives and create more democratic and egalitarian societies.

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