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Online advertising, human rights and the Rule of Law (New York)

Event Details

Time: 18.00-19.30 (Registration from 17.30)

Venue: Cantor Boardroom 11-75, New York University Stern School of Business, Henry Kaufman Management Center (KMC), 44 West 4th Street, New York 10012

This discussion will consider the human rights implications of current online advertising practices, and how advertisers, internet platforms, and advertising companies can be expected to address these risks.

Advertisers face potential reputational risks when brands are associated with hateful or harmful content through automated ad placement algorithms, or "programmatic advertising". Harmful online content may adversely impact on human rights, such as through the incitement of violence, extremism or hate speech, or undue interference in democratic elections.

However, regulatory reforms addressed at removing harmful content may have implications for human rights and the Rule of Law by requiring internet platforms to decide what constitutes harmful content without judicial overview. These kinds of laws may potentially lead to companies shutting down valid and non-harmful content and interfere with the right to free speech.

Moreover, as we have recently seen, the possession and use by companies of private user information, which is necessary for "programmatic advertising", also has implications for human rights. Internet platform companies and those that advertise on them (which is almost all consumer-facing companies) need to consider how to ensure that their online advertising activities are not linked to adverse human rights impacts.


Ulysses Smith, Director, Bingham Centre Business and the Rule of Law Programme


  • Michael Posner, Director, NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights
  • Julia Shullman, VP & Chief Privacy Counsel, AppNexus
  • Alanna Gombert, CEO, Digital Asset Trade Association
  • David W. Rifkin, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton

Convened by Lise Smit, Senior Research Fellow in Business and Human Rights, BIICL and Ulysses Smith, Director, Bingham Centre Business and the Rule of Law Programme.

Join in the conversation @BIICL
#OnlineAdvertising #RuleofLaw

Pricing and Registration

This event is free to attend however pre-registration is required.

Co-organised with


If you have any queries, please contact the Events team.

Photography and audio recording

Please note that our events may be photographed or audio recorded. These materials will be used for internal and external promotional purposes only by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. If you object to appearing in the photographs, please let our photographer know on the day. Alternatively, you can email BIICL Marketing Manager, Carmel Brown in advance of the event that you are attending.

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