André Dao

PhD candidate

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André Dao is a PhD candidate at the Melbourne Law School and a member of the Institute for International Law and the Humanities.  His research focuses on the intersections between international human rights law, digital technologies and critical theory. He is the recipient of the University of Melbourne Human Rights Scholarship (2019-2022).

He is the co-founder of Behind the Wire, an oral history project documenting people’s experience of immigration detention. He is a producer of the Walkley-award winning podcast, The Messenger, and a member of the Manus Recording Project Collective. He was also previously the associate to the Hon. Justice Anthony North at the Federal Court of Australia.

André holds an LLM with first class honours from the University of Cambridge and a BA/LLB (Hons) from the University of Melbourne. A revised version of his LLM thesis was published in the British Yearbook of International Law.

Thesis Title

Human Rights for an Algorithmic Society?

Thesis Summary

In recent years, the UN has turned to Big Data – understood to be the unprecedented advances in the size, speed and scope of data made available through digital technology – to fulfil its development and human rights mandate. This turn to Big Data to enhance and automate the UN’s information gathering and decision-making assumes that digital data technologies may be used as a tool for fulfilling broadly conceived human rights promises. In contrast to this story about technological progress, there is another story about potential harms caused by the uptake of new technology. In this second story, human rights are understood to mean human rights law, and their role is to regulate technological risk. This thesis examines the relationships between digital data technologies and human rights. The intuition guiding this investigation is that both digital data and human rights may be understood as forms of authority that rival, complement or co-constitute each other.


  • International Human Rights Law
  • Law and Technology
  • Jurisprudence
  • Law and the Humanities
  • Third World Approaches to International Law
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Critical Theory