Skip to main content

Digital Rights & Social Justice within the Covid-19 Pandemic

Entry Author:
Vicki Breting-Garcia
Independent Scholar



Contemporary social movements rely on technology and data for strategic impact, but not without risks. In this session, participants were introduced to two non-profit organizations, The Engine Room and No Tech For Tyrants, and their collaboration on a multi-cultural analysis (Jamaica, Indonesia, Uganda and Pakistan) to document how civil society organizations, activists, and organizers respond to the harmful effects of digital IDs, and to better understand the dynamics that come in to play at the intersection of social justice and technology. The transition to remote work affected workflows and relationships with marginalized communities, and access to resources deteriorated during the Covid-19 pandemic, deepening digital inequities. Funders can play a key role by broadening the parameters for financial support to create a more equitable and just technology and human rights space.





  • Bridges across digital rights and social justice groups are essential in order to define what a digital ID system grounded in social justice would look like.
  • Data and technology can be used as lenses through which to confront broader issues of power.
  • Funding organizations can have a positive influence, resourcing social justice organizations to handle the challenges that come with technology and data and supporting their knowledge of data and digital rights.



  1. At the intersection of technology and social justice there is a great need for collaboration, particularly with regards to communities disproportionately affected by the abuses of digital ID systems. Groups often have divergent sets of goals and values that often manifest in asymmetrical objectives at the international and local levels.
  2. Relationships are essential for social justice movements. Collaboration between technology and digital rights groups is necessary to create strong interdisciplinary, multilingual knowledge resources that are understandable, legible, and relevant, and accessible by a diverse set of civil society actors.


Key Words

  1. Data and Digital Rights (DDR)
  2. Civil Society Organization (CSO)
  3. Internal Equity Funding
  4. Connectivity
  5. Collaborative Systems Design and Development