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Welcome to the Official Schedule for RightsCon 2019, the world’s leading summit on human rights in the digital age.

Together at RightsCon Tunis, our first summit hosted in the Middle East and North Africa, more than 2500 expert practitioners will come together across over 400 sessions to shape, contribute to, and drive forward the global agenda for the future of our human rights.

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RightsCon is brought to you by Access Now.
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Friday, June 14 • 10:30am - 11:45am
Surveillance Tech and Oppressive Governments: Exploring cases of abuse and avenues for global cooperation going forward

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For years, the digital rights community has known that protecting dissidents from surveillance is of paramount importance. In October, we were given a clear example of how dangerous the threat really is with the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It has since been revealed that the Saudi government used state of the art spyware developed by a private company, NSO group, to collect information on Khashoggi through other dissidents’ phones. 

This session, co-organized by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Access Now, and the Human Rights Foundation, investigates the sale of surveillance technology to authoritarian governments like Saudi Arabia by private companies and state-backed export programs like China’s Belt and Road Initiative. We will do this by (1) exposing the problem and explaining how it manifests in different regions, and (2) discussing ways to address this problem through international institutions, legislation, litigation, and regulation. What has already been done, and are there new avenues for change? We also hope to gain insight on this topic by consulting the experts, activists, journalists, and others in the audience by leading a fishbowl-style conversation. Our ultimate aim is to organize around this issue and push for change at the highest level.

avatar for Prachi Vidwans

Prachi Vidwans

Research Associate, Human Rights Foundation
A research associate at the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), where I work on the intersection between authoritarianism and tech, drug policy, human trafficking, and more. I work closely with activists and have a special interest in authoritarianism in Asia. Let's talk!

avatar for Khalid Ibrahim

Khalid Ibrahim

Executive Director, Gulf Centre for Human Rights
Khalid Ibrahim is the Executive Director of the Gulf Center for human rights in charge of management, programme development, fundraising and training. He is an Iraqi human right defender with decades of experience in the human rights field, including more than ten years in Dublin... Read More →
avatar for Megha Rajagopalan

Megha Rajagopalan

Senior Correspondent, BuzzFeed News
International correspondent, BuzzFeed News. I write about tech and society including mass surveillance, accountability for social media platforms, cybersecurity and more. Email me or connect on social media if you want to talk!
avatar for Lucie Krahulcova

Lucie Krahulcova

Policy Analyst, Access Now
Policy Analyst for Australia and Asia Pacific at the Access Now. Working on export controls, surveillance, government hacking, encryption, law enforcement, Internet of Things, vulnerability disclosure... Let's talk!

Friday June 14, 2019 10:30am - 11:45am BST
Carthage 1 (Laico)