Bell selected as a 2024 Global Policy Fellow

Kainen Bell
Kainen Bell

PhD student Kainen Bell has been selected as a 2024 Global Policy Fellow at the Institute for Technology and Society (ITS) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was one of ten researchers selected worldwide who share common interests in technology and its interfaces with law and who want to expand their knowledge about the Brazilian technological context. The intensive four-week program, which will take place in July, will include a series of meetings with ITS partners in Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, and São Paulo. 

The mission of ITS is to ensure that Brazil and the Global South respond creatively and appropriately to the opportunities provided by technology in the digital age and that the potential benefits are broadly shared across society. ITS Rio is connected to a network of national and international partners and has, among its main activities, debates on privacy and personal data, human rights, internet governance, new media, e-commerce, social inclusion, digital education, culture, technology, and intellectual property. 

Bell's research uncovers algorithmic biases and follows the work of digital rights activists and organizers of anti-surveillance campaigns in Brazil who protest facial recognition camera initiatives. In his dissertation research, his goal is to learn how Afro-Brazilian communities collaborate to resist and prevent the abuse of surveillance technologies in their neighborhoods. This summer, Bell will conduct a four-month exploratory study documenting growing manifestations of resistance to digital surveillance technologies in Brazil by following organizers of anti-surveillance campaigns in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Recife. The Global Policy Fellowship will facilitate his study and provide opportunities to meet stakeholders involved in policy-making and digital surveillance campaigns. 

On February 13, Bell hosted a speaker series on AI Bias and Racial Justice in Brazil in collaboration with the Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies and the Center for Global Studies Global Intersection Grant. He is also a Wikimedia Race and Knowledge Equity Fellow and a research assistant for the Community Data Clinic.

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