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Lush urges tech industry to Take CTRL at TNW

Take Ctrl, that’s the message that Lush is sharing with audiences at one of the world’s biggest tech conferences, The Next Web.

Known for colourful #bathart inventions and a certain pop-star inspired Bath Bomb, Lush’s Chief Digital Officer Jack Constantine is taking to the stage in Amsterdam to discuss another one of his passions - technology, and more importantly the ethics behind everything from your phone to your smartspeaker.

After encouraging tech businesses to take up the #Techforgood cause at last year’s event, Lush is following up by partnering with digital rights organisation Bits of Freedom  in an effort to raise awareness around online ethics and rights.

If you’re wondering how a cosmetics retailer got so involved with the technosphere, you’re not alone. With tech an ever-increasing presence in our everyday lives, it’s only natural that a company dedicated to giving more than it takes investigated where the till systems, laptops, smartphones, search engines and any number of pieces of software and hardware, came from. And what it discovered didn’t sit well.

Audiences at the conference were able to purchase bath bombs and other cosmetic favourites using AI technology that negates the use of packaging. Using the in-house developed LushLabs app, customers simply scanned their products to find out more info on ingredients and benefits.

But Lush’s foray into the tech world goes further than till systems and brand apps. Lush is encouraging customers to think a little more about the role technology plays in their lives - urging them to Take Ctrl.

While the latest innovations are exciting, there’s a whole host of lesser-known ethics to consider. Lush and campaign partner Bits of Freedom are asking audiences to think about what global companies do with the data they collect, how online activity is monitored by businesses and governments, and even what speech is being censored.  And it’s questions like these that have contributed to the brand’s decision to switch up their social strategy.

Lush’s Digital Ethics Coordinator, Alice Dorrington, explains why Lush is making a stand on all things tech. She says: “We believe it is important to create a better understanding of our digital rights and wrongs in order to make choices that are aligned with our value system. However, we cannot influence change alone. As global digital citizens, we all need to take control of the ways in which we use, choose and consume technology. TNW offers a critical audience of tech producers and digital start-ups that we hope to engage in this discussion with us.”

Take Ctrl tote bags were available to purchase at the tech event, with all proceeds going towards Bits of Freedom and their mission to help people make conscious choices in the way they use, choose and consume technology.

Bits of Freedom Director, Hans de Zwart, explains why it’s important audiences begin to think more deeply about the digital choices they make. He says: “Take Ctrl is a very important message for us as a society because it starts off at an individual level but it ladders up to a collective conversation.

“Twenty years ago no one could foresee the incredible power that platforms like Facebook and Google would have in our lives. We need to become much more aware of the role technology plays, and make conscious decisions about when, what and how we use technology, and what those technologies mean to our literal lives, communities and democracy.

“Fundamentally, digital rights are human rights and we shouldn’t let our speech be in the hands of large multinational companies that don’t have our interests at heart.”

Bits of Freedom is the leading digital rights organisation in the Netherlands focussing on privacy and freedom of communication online. The NGO works at the cutting edge of technology, influencing legislation and self-regulation, as well as helping people Take Ctrl of their digital lives.

To find out more about how you can Take Ctrl head here or visit the Bits of Freedom website.



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