The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Afsaneh Rigot is an analyst, researcher, advocate covering issues of law, technology, LGBTQ, refugee, and human rights.
She is a senior researcher at ARTICLE 19 focusing on the Middle East and North African (MENA) human rights issues and international corporate responsibility. She is also an Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Centre (BKC) at Harvard and an advisor at the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard.
At ARTICLE 19, Afsaneh continues to lead cross-country research on the impact of technology on LGBTQ people in the MENA uncovering how police and states use technology to target, harass and arrest the community based on their identity. Independently, she has conducted the first research on the use of digital evidence and legal frameworks in the prosecution of LGBTQ people in courts.
Her broader work and her research pose questions about the effects of technology in contexts it was not designed for and the effects of western-centrism on vulnerable and/or hard-to-reach communities. It also looks at how the power-holding corporations can be constructively engaged with.
During her TAPP fellowship, Afsaneh will further develop her methodology and concept using experiences and knowledge in implementing company change with those most impacted centered. She looks to redefine how we design our major communication tools through, what she calls “designing from the margins”: a methodology requiring a departure from structures and design processes that focus on the “main use cases.” Her work will highlight the need to design based on those most impacted in mind (who would often be seen as ‘edge cases'). The work refutes the often-repeated idea that due to business incentives, companies cannot be held to account and design practices cannot shift from the “biggest use cases”, demonstrating that when impacted communities are effectively consulted, progress is possible.Last Updated: Feb 1, 2022, 8:28am