Hildebrandt speaks on computational human rights at LETS Lab conference (9 July 2021)

The LETS Lab, School of Law & Criminology, University of Greenwich are hosting an online conference on ‘Digital Rights 2.0: A Decade of Transformations for the Rule of Law’. The event aims at establishing a venue for sharing and discussing with the research community the ways in which human rights have been shaped by emerging technologies in the past decade: a decade that exposed the conceptual fragilities of the rule of law in data-driven environments and has been characterised by a disillusionment with human rights narratives

Mireille Hildebrandt will speak on ‘Computational human rights: oxymoron or potential?’


Digital rights are often seen as ‘traditional human rights’ in a digital environment. By now we are facing entirely different challenges where law itself is turned into computer code, whether by way of ‘rules as code’, an ‘internet of rules’ or by way of data-driven predictions for legal search. This has reignited my arguments for ‘legal protection by design’ as opposed to ‘legal by design’, suggesting that for human rights to be ‘real’ in computation-driven environments they will have to offer protection at the level of the computational architecture though informed by written law. Computational law is sprouting on the side of commercial providers (notably publishers in the legal domain), legal practice (law firms, judiciary) and on the side of the legislature, raising a plethora of questions and challenges. In this brief talk I will discuss why and how ‘legal protection by design’ differs from ‘legal by design’ and what this could mean for ‘effective and practical’ protection of human rights.

For more information and registration, click here.