Rapid technological change over the past several decades has been accompanied by two dominant narratives: one predominantly academic and policy-based, that proposes the central role of technological change for economic growth and catch-up, and another, largely market-centred and technology-focused that suggests the need to create unfettered conditions for technological change. Both of these perspectives frame technology’s role for society and development in a top-down model of creation, control and distribution, with the nation states and the private sector playing crucial roles in different ways.

But as we move into the more complex technological paradigms of the digital economy, it is becoming increasingly evident that focusing just on the ‘public interest’ in and through technological change is not enough to address the challenges posed by technology for society. New divisions are emerging, not just between countries, but within countries all over the world. Questions such as: Who is responsible for ensuring people’s best interests? Can technological companies know what is best for us? Who sets technological agendas and how can they be more democratised? How can we devise rules to make technological change empowering to all - communities, businesses and society alike? Can we think of new ways of structuring the discourse around technological change with better cost benefit approaches that work for all groups? - are all becoming crucial to create better rules of the game.

Rights2100 is an initiative that aims to promote more decentralised, ownership-based approaches to technology and governance in the digital economy. It promotes rights-based approaches that deeply integrate societal questions of justice, participation and equality in the debates on technological change. Central to the work of Rights2100 are approaches that promote autonomy and rights on personal data, secure processes for the use of non-personal data, and increase participation and voice for all in the digital economy. It is an initiative aims at grassrooting technological change, by pioneering new methods, approaches and solutions that respond to the needs of firms, communities and people in novel ways.

To facilitate discussions on equal rights, opportunities and choice for all in the data economy, Rights2100 combines theory, policy and practice to:

(a) provide a forum for discussion and exchange (coming soon)

(b) put new issues of importance from a grassroots perspective on the global attention radar (A New Bill of Rights, Workshop on Data as Development, Our Data Futures, and Development in the 4th Industrial Revolution)

(c) offer advice on inclusive business strategies, privacy strategies, data stewardship and ownership with a view to promote social and integration of new technologies to solve age old issues of biases and exclusion. (Contact)