WAC David Kaye- Ilexus Williams
The LEAP Ambassadors were given another opportunity to volunteer with the World Affairs Council of Houston. As volunteers, we assisted with directing guests to the event….
…distributing name tags…
…and photographing the event.
LEAP would like to thank World Affairs Council of Houston for giving us an opportunity to take an active role in their events.
Basmah Ghauri introduced the event…
…and Ronan O’Malley moderated the event.
Ronan is a particularly good moderator, and the topic was particularly interesting to the LEAP Students because we are coming of age in a world dominated by technology. This talk was centered around David Kaye’s book titled “Speech Police: The Global Struggle to Govern the Internet.” David Kaye is a professor, attorney, and researcher whose primary focus is international law.
Additionally, in 2014 David Kaye was appointed as the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the promotion and projection of the right to freedom of opinion and freedom of expression. As a special rapporteur, Mr. Kaye is responsible for examining and reporting on human rights cases and violations that occur on an international scale. David Kaye specifically focuses on global freedom of expression and how it relates to governing the internet.
The internet has evolved in so many ways since its inception. David Kaye opened the discussion with an overview of the progression of the internet and its original purpose. The internet began as a means for people to access an expansive network of information and to promote free-speech. However, with the creation of Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube, the internet has not only created an alternate space for the freedom of expression, but also the internet has created a space for fake news, violence, and hate speech.
Because these issues can cause problems across the world, the most grappling question that we face, as it relates to the internet, is, “whom do we allow to regulate it?”
As it relates to false information, in Kenya and in many other authoritarian governments, laws have been established that punish anyone who shares false information. Anything you like, share, or retweet that promotes misinformation can get you in substantial trouble. However, Kaye revealed that this law is also (ab)used as a tool to prevent humiliating information about the government from being released.
In reference to hate speech, Kaye reminded the audience that these issues have existed well before the creation of the internet. The only difference is that people have another mode to promote abusive forms of expression. The issue with hate speech is that it “incites violence and hatred among others.” However, limiting individuals rights to speech is infringing on their 1st Amendment right.
Concluding the discussion, Kaye was asked what he believed is the future of the internet. Kaye believes that the public should be given rule making authority in companies. Also, he believes that there will be an industry wide appellate process that will create transparency.
The presentation provoked much discussion among the crowd…
…and many requests for photos…
…including our group.
Unfortunately, one of our group was missing when a photo op presented itself, so we made up for it later in the evening, with her getting a one-on-one photo. Annie is a Chinese exchange student coming to SHSU for the year, and she wants to be an attorney in China. As it turns out, Kaye had been to her home town, while doing work for the UN.
It was a great way to cap the evening, and a nice introduction for Annie of the educational opportunities through SHSU and LEAP.
After learning about policing the internet–during which Mr. Kaye spent much time discussing Mediterranean countries–we decided to settle our appetites at Niko Niko’s, which is a Greek-American cafe. As a starter, we enjoyed the Niko’s Dip Platter, which included hummus, Tzatziki, Melizano Salata, and Tirokafteri.
For our main course, we enjoyed a variety of Gyro Sandwiches.
And to answer calls from our collective sweet-tooth, we ordered gelato for our ride home.