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CANCELLED: Mildred Fish-Harnack Human Rights and Democracy Lecture: David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression

April 16, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

The Mildred Fish-Harnack Human Rights and Democracy Lecture is an annual event designed to promote greater understanding of human rights and democracy, and enrich international studies at UW–Madison. The lecture brings to campus a person who contributes to the cause of human rights through academic scholarship and/or active leadership.

David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression

David Kaye is a clinical professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. His 2019 book, Speech Police: The Global Struggle to Govern the Internet (Columbia Global Reports), explores the ways in which companies, governments and activists struggle to define the rules for online expression.

Appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2014, David is the global body’s principal monitor for freedom of expression issues worldwide. He has addressed, among other topics, growing repression of freedom of expression globally, encryption and anonymity as promoters of freedom of expression, the protection of whistleblowers and journalistic sources, the roles and responsibilities of private Internet companies, and the regulation of online content by social media and search companies. In his 2018 report to the UN General Assembly, he evaluated the ways in which Artificial Intelligence technologies implicate human rights issues, especially in areas of content moderation and news curation. His most recent report to the Human Rights Council tackled the problem of the global private surveillance industry and its impact on freedom of expression. He has conducted official missions to Japan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Mexico, Liberia and Ecuador and regularly addresses major policy and academic conferences dealing with free expression, technology and media freedom.

After doing his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, he joined the U.S. State Department as a lawyer in 1995. In 2002, while the principal lawyer for international humanitarian law at the State Department, he was an advocate inside government for application of the Geneva Conventions to detainees captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan, which the United States had invaded in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001. In addition to his work on human rights and freedom of expression, his academic research and writing have focused on accountability for serious human rights abuses, international humanitarian law, and the international law governing use of force. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and former member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law, he has also published essays in such publications as Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, Slate, Foreign Policy, JustSecurity and The Los Angeles Times.

Sponsored by the International Division, Human Rights Program, and the Global Legal Studies Center.

Learn more about the Mildred Fish-Harnack Human Rights and Democracy Lecture.


April 16, 2020
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm


Pyle Center
702 Langdon St
Madison, WI 53706
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