Justice, Equity and Technology

Housed within the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Justice, Equity and Technology Project explores the intersection between policy and practice within the realm of automated discrimination.

Since January 2020, part of its endeavor is germinating a Europe-wide civil society network, the Justice, Equity, and Technology Table. As states and private actors across Europe turn to automated decision-making systems to optimize the allocation of resources, deliver social service, and manage public safety, they often overlook broader questions of social, racial, and economic justice.

Responding to the need for a broader set of visions and strategies for the governance of technology, this Table will function as a coordinating network of civil society representatives from across Europe’s social justice and human rights sector. Our core purpose is to build a fiercely independent network of Table members that will construct collective knowledge, share timely information, build solidarity and coordinate strategies around the issues of equality, justice, data-driven technologies, and their governance.

The Table aims to:

  • broaden the boundaries of public discourse around data-driven technologies beyond industry-run spaces,
  • address the consequences of automated decision-making systems for people’s basic human needs and democratic society,
  • build bridges within social justice movements by welcoming collective reflections on power structures in the field,
  • foster social change at the intersections of equality, social, economic, and racial justice, data-driven technologies, and their governance.
  • transform how civil society representatives across diverse communities of practice and areas of expertise engage with automated discrimination issues.

Justice, Equity, and Technology Table is grounded in principles of reciprocity, respect, and solidarity and views technological systems as critical determinants of effective meaningful participation in democratic society. It combines rigorous social science research and organizing strategies to understand how, why, and when social, economic, and racial justice intersects with data-driven technologies and their governance. With experience in centering justice and equity in research, organizing, and advocacy related to technology governance, the Table has a unique capacity to support field building and bridge silos that exist between and within human rights sectors in Europe.

Between 2017 and 2019, JET completed foundational research on automated discrimination. Between antidiscrimination and data: Understanding human rights discourse on automated discrimination in Europe and “Decentering technology in discourse on discrimination” found that many civil society representatives across Europe’s human rights prioritized the specific experiences of marginalized populations when examining or dealing with new, automated technologies. This approach tended to contrast the process-oriented perspective of tech-savvy groups, who shied from analysis of systematic forms of injustice. This initial work laid the foundation for the Justice, Equity, and Technology Table.

Team members

The Principal Investigator/Founder:
Seeta Pena Gangadharan

Table Co-Directors:

Sanne Stevens
Sanne Stevens is a researcher, trained facilitator and advisor with many years of experience working with civil society organisations and media organisations in field of technology, digital safety and Internet freedom. Sanne’s current research focuses on shortcomings and failure of data-driven technologies and their effect on inequalities and social justice issues. Besides conducting critical research, she facilitates workshops, meetings and practical workshops for activists, journalists and civil society worldwide about basic digital security practices, surveillance, data tracking and strategies against online harassment. As a community coordinator, she stimulates inclusive knowledge sharing and collaboration. She has worked with the Digital Defenders Partnership (Hivos),  VPRO and is member of the Advisory Council of the Open Tech Fund and Qurium. Collaborations and advisory work include the Data Justice LabAda Lovelace Institute and IFEX

Esra Özkan
Esra has been active in a variety of grassroots groups and civil society organisations in Turkey and in Belgium. She is interested in how social movements can provide a context for individual and community transformation as a pathway to experiencing freedom and justice in our lifetimes. She is passionate about and learning from the histories of communities of resistance and networks of solidarity. She is part of LABO vzw, a non-profit educational organisation that strives as a movement towards a strong civil society that work to create social change and a commitment to social justice. Previously she worked at European Network Against Racism (ENAR) as Network Development Officer and Merhaba vzw as Movement Project Coordinator.

Previous contributors:
Dr Jedrzej Niklas