We, the Data: Human Rights in the Digital Age (Paperback)

We, the Data: Human Rights in the Digital Age By Wendy H. Wong Cover Image
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A rallying call for extending human rights beyond our physical selves—and why we need to reboot rights in our data-intensive world.

Our data-intensive world is here to stay, but does that come at the cost of our humanity in terms of autonomy, community, dignity, and equality? In We, the Data, Wendy H. Wong argues that we cannot allow that to happen. Exploring the pervasiveness of data collection and tracking, Wong reminds us that we are all stakeholders in this digital world, who are currently being left out of the most pressing conversations around technology, ethics, and policy. This book clarifies the nature of datafication and calls for an extension of human rights to recognize how data complicate what it means to safeguard and encourage human potential. 

As we go about our lives, we are co-creating data through what we do. We must embrace that these data are a part of who we are, Wong explains, even as current policies do not yet reflect the extent to which human experiences have changed. This means we are more than mere “subjects” or “sources” of data “by-products” that can be harvested and used by technology companies and governments. By exploring data rights, facial recognition technology, our posthumous rights, and our need for a right to data literacy, Wong has crafted a compelling case for engaging as stakeholders to hold data collectors accountable. Just as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights laid the global groundwork for human rights, We, the Data gives us a foundation upon which we claim human rights in the age of data.

About the Author

Wendy H. Wong is Professor of Political Science and Principal’s Research Chair at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan. She is the author of two award-winning books: Internal Affairs: How the Structure of NGOs Transforms Human Rights and (with Sarah S. Stroup) The Authority Trap: Strategic Choices of International NGOs.

Praise For…

"A timely and engaging exploration. . . . We, the Data presents a refreshing and nuanced view of data. . . . [Wong’s] proposal is a welcome invitation for each of us to reclaim our agency and become full participants in conversations and decisions about how to apply human rights and human values to our data reality."

"Absolutely fascinating."
IEEE Spectrum

"Very rich and incredible readable."
New Books in Political Science

We, the Data offers understandable, eye-opening explanations of the ways data emerge, inform, and endure, and re-conceptualizes the relationship between technology, society, and governance. . . . This book serves as a necessary first step toward data literacy and advocacy in our datafied future.”
Journal of Democracy

Product Details
ISBN: 9780262048576
ISBN-10: 0262048574
Publisher: The MIT Press
Publication Date: October 10th, 2023
Pages: 280
Language: English