The mission of the Institute for Technology & Society of Rio (ITS Rio) 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. Through its own research and in partnership with other institutions, ITS Rio analyzes the legal, social, economic and cultural dimensions of technology and advocates for public policies and private practices which protect privacy, freedom of expression and access to knowledge. The Institute also offers innovative education, training and capacity development to individuals and institutions to enable them to understand the promises and challenges of new technologies. ITS Rio also aims at strengthening the voice of Brazil, Latin America and the Global South in international debates on technology and its regulation.
ITS Rio is a non-profit independent organization and its team has developed expertise in the following areas over the course of ten years: i) Identifying opportunities and challenges in emerging technologies and its ramifications, completing research on a series of legal questions related to such technologies; ii) Analyzing issues from multiple perspectives (legal, economic, social, and cultural), highlighting critical aspects, particularly where they may restrict fundamental rights and or widen social inequalities; iii) Clarifying issues regarding emerging technologies – promises and threats – to policy makers, experts, activists and the public in general at a national, regional and international level. iv) Mobilizing progressive forces to capture value or oppose threats, and design collaborations between competing interests for the public good; and, v) Bringing independent expertise and perspectives while working in partnership with universities, civil society actors, the private sector and government agencies.
ITS Rio’s team has been working in cooperation with several branches of the Brazilian government. Regarding the implementation of the free software program in Brazil, the team was responsible for the preparation of the study commissioned by the National Institute of Information Technology (ITI), the body directly connected to the Presidency of the Republic responsible for the program. The study provides the legal background to foster the implementation of the free software program in the public and private sectors in Brazil.
At the international level, ITS Rio has been active in a number of Internet governance and policy forums, such as the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), ICANN and WCIT. At the regional level, the team has been active on the strengthening partnerships through the network of civil society institutions connected through a joint project to develop a newsletter on digital rights for Latin America.