Talk: Code is Politics 2016-06-27

“Code is law” wrote Lawrence Lessig back in 1999. This has evolved and been demonstrated again and again since then. Code defines an ever increasing part of our personal and social lives. How businesses and friends interact with us, but also how authorities and intelligence services see us. It is already the case for many but soon the lives and rights as citizens of all of us will be defined by code. Code is political. Politics depend on code. If we want a world that is open and diverse we must code for it. How do we achieve better code, better politics and a better world together?

Karen Melchior

Karen Melchior is a Danish diplomat turned politician and digital activist. After six years in the diplomatic service she decided to get involved in politics when she returned to Copenhagen in 2012. The Danish cartoon crisis in 2006 and the “Arab spring” 2011 sparked her interest in digital diplomacy and the power of online networks. The fight for an open and free internet has been at the centre of her political work as she sees this as the only way to ensure freedom of speech and democracy around the world. The Snowden revelations underlined for her how our civil rights are being undermined even by our own governments. Part of Karen’s political work looks to improve our political culture in a time where “filter bubbles” and polarisation seem more common than real dialogue. Karen stood for election for the European Parliament in 2014 and for the Danish Folketing in 2015. She was not elected and still works for the Danish Foreign Service.