The IO Foundation
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ORGANIZATION BRIEF

The organization

The IO Foundation (TIOF) is a global for-impact NGO born from a fundamental concern about the state of technology in the world and advocating for Data-Centric Digital Rights.
TIOF aims to raise awareness of the importance of Data-Centric Digital Rights in collaboration with stakeholders ranging from civil society, programmer communities, bodies of governance and corporate and work together to achieve the proclamation and adoption of a Universal Declaration of Digital Rights.
TIOF advances its Data-Centric Digital Rights advocacy through the implementation of a number of initiatives.

The observed problem(s)

  • The nature of data is largely misunderstood
    • With currently 11 definitions of data worldwide, if we can't agree on that basic concept it will be virtually impossible to protect it effectively cross-borders.
  • Technology is too complex for citizens and doesn't protect them properly
    • Current regulations place too much burden on the citizens' shoulders.
  • Technology, and in particular software, does not have a way to prove compliance to data protection laws in an objective, standardized manner
    • In any properly regulated industry, companies only compete at value proposition level. In technology, they also compete at compliance level; enduring trust is not possible.
  • Experts do not have the necessary tools to be at the forefront of architecting and implementing better and safer technology
    • Policy makers and civil society at large keeps ignoring that engineers require being spoken too in a language they understand: clear, precise and definable problems + algorithms.
  • Citizens should only be expected to be responsible citizens and not hackers
  • Governments are increasingly becoming irrelevant by not being able to protect their own citizens' data
At The IO Foundation we regard technologists, and developers in particular, as the Next Generation of Rights Defenders.

Initiatives

Diagram

The following diagram provides an overview on how each of the initiatives support each other to advance TIOF's Mission in realizing its Vision.
TIOF views the technology as currently non-correlated with all working understandings and practices as to how any public-consumption industry functions traditionally where a clear separation is made between:
  • Experts, who understand the complexities to design and build products that are compliant with applicable legislation and
  • Citizens, who are solely tasked for being responsible users of the product
As core stakeholders, technologists play a critical role as the Next Generation of Rights Defenders and need to orient themselves through new design and implementation paradigms focused on protecting data. The DCDR Principles are concepts that help them navigate the intricacies of applying Human and Digital Rights in digital infrastructures, products and services.
In essence, DCDR is a framework for technologists composed by Principles, Taxonomies and other technical tools. It enables them to develop a deeper understanding about the nature of data, the digital twins that emerge from it and make possible for them to embrace their role as NextGen Rights Defenders.
By understanding that we are our data, technologists may architect Digital Spaces that aim at ending remedy and build it so that they implement Rights by design.

Objectives

DCDR aims at encouraging a shift in the current technology paradigms by providing a DCDR framework comprised of, among others:
The BHR in Tech initiative aims at encouraging a shift towards the adoption and implementation of the United Nations' Guiding Principles in Business and Human Rights in the Tech sector by
  • designing and producing implementation guidelines and other research materials
  • participating actively in the drafting of National Action Plans (NAPs) so that tech is considered as a thematic area or, to the very least, as a cross-cutting theme
  • increase the recognition of the importance of technology in different jurisdictions through their National Action Plans
  • reviewing existing National Action Plans (NAPs)
  • increase awareness and adoption across tech companies

TechUp

TechUp is a collaborative space uniting capacity building and social participation to build better and safer digital by engaging technologists in a meaningful way.
Through its activities, TechUp strives to bring together the tech community to become the agents of change that digital societies need right now.
The CrowdShape (CS) initiative intends to be a model for crowd collaboration based on transparent processes and accountable management. It is aimed at enabling technologists to start and run their own tech NGOs by providing familiar tools to enable the collaboration and reward of participants, attracting talent and financial support.
The UDDR initiative is a multi-stakeholder initiative promoted by The IO Foundation to promote and achieve the proclamation of a Universal Declaration of Digital Rights.
Building trustworthy technology that protects your Data-Centric Digital Rights.
As core stakeholders, technologists play a critical role as the Next Generation of Rights Defenders and need to orient themselves through new design and implementation paradigms focused on protecting data. The DCDR Principles put forward by The IO Foundation are concepts that help them navigate the intricacies of applying Human and Digital Rights in digital infrastructures, products and services.

Objectives

The UDDR initiative aims at encouraging a shift in the current technology paradigms by providing
  • a Universal Declaration of Digital Rights comprising
    • a Legal document (L)
    • a Technical document (T)
    • a Data-Centric Digital Rights SDK (DCDR SDK)
  • a DCDR Processing Index
  • a Global DCDR compliance database
  • a strategy for international & national adoption and legislation strategies
  • conversations on the different adoption strategies per stakeholder
  • a strategy for the implementation, adoption, deployment and maintenance phases by the tech sector
  • a roadmap for the above activities

Publications

For more information, see TIOF's publications.