Stichting Digital Freedom Fund
Grant Start Date
12 December 2022
Grant End Date
11 June 2024
The question that is addressed in this research is: How can a decolonizing programme for the European digital rights field be designed and implemented?
The decolonizing programme is co-designed by researchers and/or members from the digital rights field and social, economic and racial justice organizations, to address power dynamics in the field and imagine a vision for an anti-colonial digital future.
This research project focuses on the finalization of the decolonizing programme, the final steps in the co-design and drafting phase of the overall process, and in the assessment of the effectiveness of the initial stages of the implementation.
WHY IS THIS RESEARCH IMPORTANT?
Documenting and explaining the process of transnational decolonizing in Europe regarding the digital rights field (which has not taken place before), is of significant importance. If the decolonizing programme is collectively designed, adequately documented, and widely disseminated, then the digital rights field in Europe will improve its impact against structural discrimination and oppression reinforced by technologies.
The implementation of a decolonizing programme for the digital rights field is expected to:
- Support strong and enforced legal, policy, and community standards of global relevance that respond to structural, environmental, and societal harms on the internet, and with respect to the impact of technology and digital rights.
- Challenge abusive practices and resist the further expansion of state and corporate surveillance infrastructures (including via internet platforms) and their disproportionate impact on marginalized communities.
- Design effective digital rights strategies that contest and redress the largest harms to democracy and to the groups most affected by online harms and other emerging technologies.
- Shape public narratives and increase cross-movement mobilization on the consequences of digital power imbalances.
- Impact funding strategies and processes to better respond to the full range of digital and technological harms.
- Build effective and sustainable coalitions across thematic and geographic silos to address the full extent of digital harms to marginalized communities and tackle corporate and state abuses.
The research outcomes can be applied by organizations, communities, and individuals with an interest in addressing the structural oppression that characterizes the context in which digital technologies are used. It also inspires and assists organizations who want to engage in a decolonizing process of their own so that the knowledge the project accumulates is shared widely, and other organizations can use it as a basis for designing and running their decolonizing processes.
This research is informed by experience, observations and consultations with practitioners in and around the digital rights field and by the interviews conducted with a wide range of stakeholders in different phases of the decolonizing process. Evaluation forms completed by participants, focus group conversations, bilateral consultations, surveys and desk research are also used to ensure an informed process.
The research plan adopts an anti-colonial approach, leading to participatory forms of research as well as artistic practices as a means of knowledge production. All of this data then leads to a final version of the decolonizing programme.