Regulating Tech: Business and Human Rights for Technology Value Chains
- Speaker: Dr. Lisa Hsin (Research Fellow in Business and Human Rights, Law Faculty, University of Oxford; Junior Research Fellow, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford; Adjunct Research Fellow, National University of Singapore)
- Moderators: Dr. Bonny Ling (Executive Director, Work Better Innovations; Senior Non-resident Fellow, University of Nottingham Taiwan Studies Programme; Research Fellow, Institute for Human Rights and Business) & Assoc. Prof. Yu-Fan Chiu (School of Law, NYCU)
- Date & Time: May 3 2023 (Wednesday), 19：00-21：00 (TAIPEI TIME, GMT+8)
- Location: video conference via Webex
com/nctulaw-tc/j.php?MTID= mcc3acfeb2195527812b7ae00b98e0 98d
- Language: Lecture in English (Mandarin Interpretation provided)
Abstract: Technology is amazing. It helps us stay connected, work more efficiently and experience things beyond our imagination. Technology has become an integral part of modern life, but the positive aspects of technology hides a dark underbelly. Most of us are unaware of the unseen harm. But given the power and influence of technology companies, we must pay more attention. So, what is the responsibility of businesses? Why do they need to care?
In hardware, lithium batteries rely on cobalt, a mineral sourced almost exclusively from the Congo. There, researchers discovered horrific working conditions, and extreme forms of child labour. Companies such as Apple, Samsung, and Sony etc are complicit in the abuse. In the digital space, VPN services, designed to protect privacy can also hide the identity of criminals intent on harm. Vulnerable people are targeted and recruited via social media forums by criminals without leaving a trace.
This presentation canvases the work that Dr Hsin recently undertook for B-Tech, a project under the auspice of UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. The research we jointly conducted suggested that technology companies present new challenges to regulation; but it requires a move away from the idea that they only provide ‘products and services’, instead, to confront the reality is that their operations are like infrastructure, as essential to us as roads, telephone lines and plumbing. They make up the fabric of our lives, but they can also control and cause harm.
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights 2011 (UNGPs) require States and corporations to adopt legislation and standards of due diligence. In particular, the UNGPs require states to deploy a ‘smart mix’ of strategies and new regulation is just one option of many in a toolbox of techniques along with a rethinking of existing law.
Bio: Dr Lisa Hsin is a Research Fellow in Business and Human Rights at the Law Faculty of the University of Oxford. She concurrently holds a teaching post as Junior Research Fellow of Corpus Christi College, and Adjunct Research Fellow of the EW Barker Centre for Law and Business, National University of Singapore. She obtained her DPhil at the University of Oxford, her LLM from the University of California, Berkeley and BA/LLB(Hons) from the University of Auckland. Before academia, Lisa was an associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London specialising in commercial dispute resolution and corporate investigations. She is a qualified Barrister and Solicitor in New Zealand, and a Solicitor with Higher Rights of Audience in England and Wales.
Lisa has written on issues relating to corporate regulation and corporate compliance in the context of business and human rights. In 2020, Lisa led a joint research project with the British Institute of International and Comparative Law funded by the UK Research and Innovation Strategic Priorities Fund and the Modern Slavery Policy and Evidence on the effectiveness of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, including a comparison of corporate enforcement mechanisms. In 2022, Lisa advised the Business and Human Rights Unit of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on regulatory initiatives relating to the technology sector. Lisa’ work is empirically informed, with a focus on the intersection of legal regimes as barriers or mechanisms to improving corporate accountability.