This event has ended. Visit the official site or create your own event on Sched.
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.

Important note: Whether you’re a session organizer, speaker, or participant, you’ll need to login to Sched or create an account in order to get the most out of the program (including creating a profile and building your own customized RightsCon schedule).

Be sure to get your ticket to RightsCon first. You can visit rightscon.org for more information.

RightsCon is brought to you by Access Now.

Sign up or log in to bookmark your favorites and sync them to your phone or calendar.

(un)Censored: The Future of Expression [clear filter]
Wednesday, June 12


Developing New Models for Censorship: The cases of the Russian RuNet, the Great Firewall of China, and Iran’s Filternet
Three countries have notorious censorship systems that have become aptly named: the RuNet, the Great Firewall, and Filternet. Russia, China and Iran have three very different governments, systems of language, and culture, yet they are exemplary countries in create their very own unique internet cultures because of the technological and legal hurdles they have placed on their users from accessing a secure and open internet. These hurdles effect the everyday lives of their countrymen, the shape and ability for dissent, as well as the respective economies of each of these countries. While these controls have taken shape, these internet cultures have strategically remained porous. With some more effort, Iranians, Russians, and Chinese can all find ways to access -however, these regimes have kept accessibility strategically at bay to never fully threaten the power structures of these authoritarian governments. Experts working on each of these countries will discuss alongside individuals representing various companies who have a strategic presence, and opportunity to improve the situation of access to the Internet. These private companies include Telegram (Iran and Russia); Facebook (Instagram in Iran, Facebook policy in China); Google (policy on China), as well as telecoms and their roles (Vodafone and MTN in Iran).

avatar for Sarah Clarke

Sarah Clarke

Head of Europe and Central Asia, ARTICLE 19
ARTICLE 19 supports independent media, civil society and activists across the region to exercise and defend the right to freedom of expression and access to information. We challenge restrictive legislation, as well as attacks and imprisonment of individuals that violate freedom of... Read More →


Wednesday June 12, 2019 10:30am - 11:45am
Limes (Laico)


Women’s right to artistic freedom of expression in the digital age
Access to online platforms enables women to transgress physical boundaries and connect with audiences across the world. However, this is typically compounded by online misogynistic and vitriolic gendered harassment and abuse. Freemuse's first-of-its-kind report into women’s right to artistic freedom in the digital age indicates that women feel coerced into restricting their opinions and art on social media platforms and websites due to the high probability of online abuse. Our RightsCon session will present recommendations from Freemuse's report directed towards various actors in the international community, artists and digital companies, and will analyze international/national policy frameworks in parallel with community guidelines presented by online platforms to ascertain the legal foundation of the harassment towards women in the digital age. The session will discuss the role of community guidelines in restricting women’s right to artistic freedom, the challenges for the international community to hold digital companies accountable, and human rights law facilitating restrictions for women’s artistic freedom in the digital world. Speakers include David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression; Deji Olukotun, Head of Social Impact at Sonos; Srirak Plipat, Executive Director of Freemuse; a woman artist and a human rights expert in the field of digital rights.

avatar for David Kaye

David Kaye

UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression
Prof. Kaye’s scholarship and teaching focus on public international law, especially international human rights law, international humanitarian law, accountability for violations of human rights, and the law governing the use of force. He is just as interested in efforts to translate... Read More →

Wednesday June 12, 2019 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Jelsa (Laico)


North Koreans Need Real Information
North Korea has one of the most heavily censored media environments in the world. Knowing the threat outside information poses to their propaganda and ideology, the North Korean government aggressively limits outside information from reaching the ears, eyes, and minds of their citizens.

This session will explore North Korean government censorship, how technology is being used to facilitate the flow of information into North Korea, and the complications facing human rights groups who are actively participating in data smuggling attempts. Multiple facilitators will speak on the work they are doing to address this issue.

First, PSCORE will present a video interview with a recent North Korean defector. This interviewee has a unique perspective to share, as he was one of the lucky few North Koreans able to access free information due to his high-ranking position that mandated work outside North Korea. He will discuss how access to this information helped facilitate his emancipation from North Korea.

Second, Unification Media Group will discuss the diverse work its media activists, many of whom have escaped from North Korea, do to amplify the free flow of information into, out of, and within the country. UMG will also share details from a recent survey it conducted with over 200 North Korean refugees concerning access to information in North Korea and leveraging the country's shifting media landscape in order to erode the regime's information blockade.

Next, Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG) will discuss their documentation project that maps the sites of gross human rights violations in North Korea, how the transitional justice approach can guide decision-makers, and the need for that approach to be victim-centered.

Lastly, there will be an open panel discussion/ feedback session where participants have the opportunity to discuss and brainstorm ideas and strategies to address the lack of access to free information in North Korea. We hope this presentation serves as a first step in establishing a working group to develop new strategies to connect the North Korean people to the rest of the world.


Dan Bielefeld

Transitional Justice Working Group
avatar for Bada Nam

Bada Nam

Secretary General, PSCORE (People for Successful COrean REunification)
Human Rights defender, Korea focused

Wednesday June 12, 2019 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Village Stage (Laico)


The Benevolent Accomplices of Authoritarian Regimes on the Internet
The Internet helped communities facing oppression to publish and get organized more freely, with unprecedented global reach. Censorship was not eradicated on the Internet but nation-states were not fully successful in controlling access to and distribution of online content till now. With the widespread of online social media platforms where in many countries it is equivalent to many to the Internet, the Internet’s global reach was taken to its next level. Platforms did not remain neutral. In the name of preventing harm or under pressure, fighting with disinformation, terrorism and preserving cybersecurity, platforms have been taking content down. There are many other benevolent actors and activists that are marching towards censorship online in the name of fighting with fake news, protecting children and preventing intellectual property violations. Increasingly states, platforms, political parties and activists have been demonstrating similar behavior to that of authoritarian regimes. We would like to discuss how democratic countries, Internet intermediaries and other benevolent actors can be de facto helping autocratic countries to hamper speech and activism. The goal of the session is to provide some insight into the consequences of online content takedown and access blockage for the societies that live in oppression like in MENA.

avatar for Rafik Dammak

Rafik Dammak

Non-commercial Stakeholder Group former Chair
He is engineer working and living in Japan. He is member of the steering committee for the Dynamic Coalition on Internet Rights and Principles . He has been involved in ICANN community as NCUC (Non-commercial users constituency) individual user member, former elected GNSO Councillor... Read More →

avatar for Emna Mizouni

Emna Mizouni

Emna, a Tunisian-Maghrebi, is a Digital Communications Specialist and the Lead of Digital Citizenship Organization. She is the President-Founder of Carthagina organisation, trying to promote Tunisia globally through digitising heritage. She is an advocate for Open Culture and Open... Read More →
avatar for Milton Mueller

Milton Mueller

Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology
Milton Mueller is the O.G. of I.G. He directs the Internet Governance Project, a center for research and engagement on global Internet governance. Mueller's books Will the Internet Fragment? (Polity, 2017), Networks and States: The global politics of Internet governance (MIT Press... Read More →
avatar for Omer Fisher

Omer Fisher

Head, Human Rights Department, OSCE/ODIHR
I lead the OSCE/ODIHR Human Rights Department and have a strong interest in technology and human rights. In particular, I am interested in freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, technology for human rights monitoring, games as awareness raising / learning tools. I am... Read More →

Wednesday June 12, 2019 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Carthage 1 (Laico)


Authoritarianism killed radio stars
The main objective of this session is to identify the benefits and the best ways to use traditional communication formats such as radio, print and television but in the digital field to combat censorship, authoritarianism and the communicational hegemony of the States based on the Venezuelan experience.


Wednesday June 12, 2019 2:15pm - 3:30pm
Biscay (Palais)


Future Proof: Imagining a tech positive future
Come help us envision a tech positive future and plot the steps necessary to get us there. Our community is fighting against repression on so many fronts, it's hard to keep up. I worry that too many people around the world are surrendering to the idea that technology can only create and empower evil. I want to take some time to step back together with the leaders in the global community that attend Rightscon, to work toward an overarching story that we can tell the rest of the world and that helps builds us toward an empowered, tech positive future. My hope is that we can identify themes and stories that we can all use to help us convince the rest of the world that technology can be used to build a better world.

avatar for Cindy Cohn

Cindy Cohn

Executive Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation
avatar for Lucas Pretti

Lucas Pretti

Global Product Director, Change.org Foundation

Wednesday June 12, 2019 2:15pm - 3:30pm
Hannibal (Laico)


Engaging Citizens at Scale in Restrictive Environments
This session will bring together leaders from various human rights organizations who have deep experience in global citizen engagement in traditionally hard to reach countries. Their respective specializations range from gender-based violence, the rights of migrants, preventing and countering violent extremism, and measuring trust in CSOs. They will discuss how they leverage citizen voice to hone the focus of their initiatives, boost the impact of their campaigns, enable previously “unreachable” groups, and paint an accurate picture of what any given country truly thinks about important issues. This session will also address some of the barriers and limitations of traditional research methods that have failed to keep up with the pace of technological change and how average citizens engage with new ideas in the 21st century. It is clear that there is a necessity for new solutions that provide access while at the same time providing respondents with true anonymity and security. The panelists will begin by sharing their experiences and learnings. The session will then engage the audience soliciting questions, ideas, and feedback, towards developing solutions for their global challenges.

avatar for Mercedes Fogarassy

Mercedes Fogarassy

Portfolio Manager, Global Citizen Engagement, RIWI Corp.
Mercedes manages the Global Citizen Engagement portfolio at RIWI Corp., focusing on amplifying citizen voices for partners in the humanitarian sector, including the World Food Programme, USAID, Oxfam, Freedom House and more.RIWI is a global survey technology and sentiment analysis... Read More →

avatar for Alix Lawson

Alix Lawson

Program Officer, Freedom House
I am the Program Officer at Freedom House for the Human Rights Support Mechanism, an LWA under USAID for human rights programming. My interests include human rights work and its intersection with technology.
avatar for Vijay Simhan

Vijay Simhan

Manager, Investments, Humanity United
As Investments Manager, Vijay supports Humanity United’s Human Trafficking & Labor Migration portfolio, including engaging with corporations, governments, civil society, and workers to advocate, promote, and defend the rights of workers.
avatar for Katrina Frappier

Katrina Frappier

Katrina is a Needs Assessment Consultant at the UN World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security. In recent years, Katrina’s work has focused on exploring the use of new innovative technologies to assess the needs... Read More →
avatar for Althea Middleton-Detzner

Althea Middleton-Detzner

Director, Hate Speech and Africa Lab, PeaceTech Lab
Althea is the Director of Hate Speech Programs and the Africa Lab at PeaceTech Lab. She has worked for over a decade in the broader peacebuilding field, with expertise in nonviolent movements, civil resistance, and corporate-community conflicts. Prior to working at the Lab, Althea... Read More →

Wednesday June 12, 2019 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Village Stage (Laico)


Empowering the Next Generation of Digital Citizens: A continued push for progress
At RightsCon 2018 (On the Shoulders of Giants: Empowering the Next Generation of Digital Citizens), we began a conversation about opportunities for young people to harness the power of connectivity to raise their voices and become agents of change. We also discussed potential obstacles. This session will seek to revisit this important theme, consider progress and build on the discussions that began in 2018. We will discuss recent research on youth digital citizenship and consider insights shared by young people and their carers, in other forums, such as the UNICEF / GSMA workshop at Eurochild where we were able to test the hypotheses generated at RightsCon 2018. We will also encourage participants to share information on current activities, so that we can learn from each other's work. We are building an ever clearer picture of how we can best support young people in using connectivity to express their views and advocate for change, and as more young people show us the way themselves, we will use this session to learn, to celebrate progress made by the community, and to explore opportunities to lift and support each other's efforts in this space.

avatar for Natasha Jackson

Natasha Jackson

Head of Public Policy & Consumer Affairs, GSMA

Wednesday June 12, 2019 5:15pm - 6:30pm
Elyssa (Laico)
  • Host Organization GSMA


Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) Open Forum
The Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) is an intergovernmental coalition of 30 countries committed to advancing Internet freedom – free expression, association, assembly, and privacy online – worldwide. This Open Forum session will provide participants with the opportunity to learn more about the FOC's latest activities under Ghana's Chairmanship of the Coalition and the FOC's priorities under the Program of Action for 2019-2020. This session will include the opportunity to learn about the FOC's latest Joint Statement. In this session RightsCon participants will be encouraged to engage directly with the panellists, consisting of FOC Members and Members of the FOC Advisory Network. Participants in the session will be invited to pose questions and comments, and participate in a lively discussion on promoting and protecting human rights in the face of ongoing and emerging threats to freedom online.

avatar for Lisa Vermeer

Lisa Vermeer

Senior Policy Officer, Dutch MFA
Senior Policy Advisor on Human Rights and InternetDutch Focal Point for the Freedom Online CoalitionManaging Dutch Internet Freedom project portfolio Human Rights FundFormer advisor to Dutch MPs on EU Justice and Home affairs, former research fellow at the Scientific Council for Government... Read More →
avatar for Wafa Ben-Hassine

Wafa Ben-Hassine

Global Policy Counsel, Access Now
Wafa Ben-Hassine is a New York qualified attorney specializing in international law and technology. She is currently a Global Policy Counsel for Access Now, an international non-profit organization defending and extending human rights in the digital age. In her current role, she manages... Read More →
avatar for Albert Antwi-Boasiako

Albert Antwi-Boasiako

National Cybersecurity Advisor, National Cyber Security Centre/Ministry of Communications
Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako is the National Cybersecurity Advisor, responsible for advising the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Communications on the implementation of Ghana’s national cybersecurity policy and strategy. Albert is also a Cyber Security Expert with the Interpol... Read More →

Wednesday June 12, 2019 5:15pm - 6:30pm
Leptis (Laico)


Lightning Talks: The cost of speaking up – defending freedom of expression
eSNI: an easy technical way to end censorship today, which no tech company wants (A19)

Description: HTTPS encrypts information transferred to the websites we use every day. That means to anyone snooping 'on the wire' almost all your communication will look like complete gibberish. However, there is one major exception — at the time your computer connects to the website, it leaks the domain name of that website. Most times, it's not a big deal. It's as a minor privacy issue in the western democracies and is treated as such. But that is a matter of free speech & censorship for millions of people around the world. Right now oppressive regimes around the world 'snoop on the wire' and block connections to websites they deem as a danger to their power. We can take away that technological power to censor the internet from authoritarian governments. Solution is to encrypt the domain name you connect to just as the rest of the communication. That technology is called encrypted SNI and it is already implemented by Firefox & Cloudflare (you need both browser and cloud provider for plug the leak). The last missing piece of a puzzle is eSNI adoption by major players: Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and most importantly, Google. The thing is, Google and other major tech companies are reluctant to implement this change for a business reason. eSNI will take away power to censor the internet from oppressive regimes. Most likely, this regimes will put big internet companies in front of a choice — do the censoring or leave the country. This is where our voices could make a difference.

Speaker: Samat Galimov

The Dissernet Project ()

Description: I demonstrate how activists in Russia expose corruption of public officials and university leadership by finding plagiarism in doctoral theses and academic papers. Data analysis tools are discussed that make exposure of academic fraud possible at industrial scales (ca. 10,000 theses, ca. 20,000 papers per year)

Speaker: Andrew V. Zayaki

#speakup barometer: Assessing the drivers and barriers of digital participation (DW Akademie)

Description: Are you connected to the Internet? If so, congratulations! But does that mean that you are an active citizen in the digital sphere? Not necessarily. In fact, access alone is not the answer: People need more than an internet connection to fully take advantage of the opportunities provided by the web. This lightning talk will introduce DW Akademie’s concept of digital participation and shed light on the result of their #speakup barometer project that assesses digital inclusion on a country basis. To date the project has assessed digital participation in eight countries worldwide, highlighting the respective drivers and barriers of digital inclusion. One outcome of the project has become clear: Digital inclusion is multifaceted. It may involve the use of technology, it addresses societal norms and it sometimes challenges the regulatory environment. The spreading of fake news leads to mistrust towards media and journalists, hate speech is flaring up on social media and powerful hashtag campaigns are changing politics. These trends, as well as digital literacy, digital rights, the innovation landscape and social norms, all impact a person’s ability to rightfully participate in the digital revolution – or not.

Speaker: Steffen Leidel

New media, old censorship: Defending press freedom across borders and media platforms (Committee to Protect Journalists)

Description: Authorities throughout the Middle East and North Africa have ramped up online surveillance, website blocking and hacking -- even as they jam satellite signals, seize newspapers, and set fire to printing presses. Current discourse around media and censorship tend to reflect assumptions that all media activity -- and therefore, censorship efforts -- are inexorably moving into the digital sphere. Yet this view ignores the central role that print, radio, and TV play in news dissemination throughout the region, and how these platforms still constitute a front line in the battle against censorship. This lightning talk will examine the different types of censorship in the region, ranging from the widespread blocking of websites in Egypt and hacking campaigns in Saudi Arabia to censorship at the printing press in Algeria and Sudan, and draw parallels and contrasts between the types of coverage and the audiences reached by different platforms, as well as how authorities target media outlets across platforms. The talk will also invite attendees to collaborate across platforms and sectors and suggest approaches for a unified response to censorship region-wide.

Speaker: Justin Shilad

It took a year for civil society to start reacting to censorship in Ukraine (Internews Europe)

Description: We want to share the dynamic of civil society when reacting to a new "never seen before" threat. Internet censorship came to Ukraine unexpected in May, 2017 - big platforms were blocked (Russian social networks, email providers, payment systems etc), actually the most popular websites in Ukraine were blocked. We had human rights defenders organizations at the moment, as well as independent media outlets and NGOs, however, almost nobody reacted to this censorship. Nobody understood what happened, what is censorship, why it's bad and how to deal with it. It took a year for our civil society to start somehow fight the censorship and communicate it in public, it will probably take few more years to do it more effectively. I want to share the dynamic of this capacity rising and show how long it actually takes.

Speaker: Mykola Kostynyan

avatar for Steffen Leidel

Steffen Leidel

DW Akademie
Steffen Leidel ist Head of Digital Innovation and Knowledge Management at Deutsche Welle Akademie. He works on digital strategy and consulting in media development and is project director of the #speakup barometer (dw.com/barometer) Since 2005 he has been working as a journalism trainer... Read More →
avatar for Samat Galimov

Samat Galimov

Former CTO leading independent Russian media Meduza.ioInterested in censorship & censorship circumvention.
avatar for Mykola Kostynyan

Mykola Kostynyan

Community Engagement Manager, AUDS project (Internews Europe)
Digital security, org security, audits, trainings, ToT, Ukrainewire: bezlimitchykSignal/WhatsApp: +380959104491

Wednesday June 12, 2019 5:15pm - 6:30pm
The BeeHive (Palais)


Multistakeholder Models of Content Moderation: A global perspective
This workshop will function as an opportunity to develop the practical terms of a participatory, multistakeholder social media council(s) for the moderation of online content. The need for a multistakeholder model arises from several trends: first, recent government legislation which poses threats to freedom of expression online; second, the extraordinary control over content exercised by private companies whose platforms increasingly represent the public square; and third, the urgent need to combat harmful online content, while protecting and respecting freedom of expression. With input from speakers who are experts in online content and human rights, and specifically the unique challenges faced by those in the Global South, this workshop will address practical questions for building a feasible multistakeholder social media council. Some key questions will include: How should we properly structure such a body to ensure effectiveness, buy-in from governments and platforms, and protection of human rights principles? Who should be a member of such a body? How should members be selected? What will be the specific function of such a body: will it review individual appeals on content, or serve as an advisory body to help establish global standards? Should there be a global body, or national- or regional-level bodies?

avatar for Megan Metzger

Megan Metzger

Research Scholar and Associate Director for Research, Stanford University, Global Digital Policy Incubator
I work on human rights and AI, creative approaches to managing the challenges of online content, and multistakeholder approaches to solving the problems of the digital age. I have also conducted research on social media and protest in Ukraine and Turkey, and on the Russian state’s... Read More →

avatar for Prasanth Sugathan

Prasanth Sugathan

Legal Director, SFLC.in
Prasanth Sugathan is a lawyer and the Legal Director at SFLC.IN.
avatar for Rasha Abdulla

Rasha Abdulla

Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication, AUC, The American University in Cairo
Dr. Rasha Abdulla is Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University in Cairo. She has a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. She is the recipient of several teaching and research awards, including the AUC Excellence... Read More →
avatar for Nighat Dad

Nighat Dad

Founder, Digital Rights Foundation
Nighat Dad is the ​Founder and executive director of the Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), Pakistan, She has run the DRF since it was established in 2012, and has been a practicing lawyer since 2007, where she worked on civil​,​ criminal​ and now cyber​ litigation... Read More →
avatar for David Kaye

David Kaye

UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression
Prof. Kaye’s scholarship and teaching focus on public international law, especially international human rights law, international humanitarian law, accountability for violations of human rights, and the law governing the use of force. He is just as interested in efforts to translate... Read More →
avatar for 'Gbenga Sesan

'Gbenga Sesan

Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative
‘Gbenga Sesan is the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative, a social enterprise that works on digital rights and digital inclusion across Africa, with offices in Cameroon, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia. Originally trained as an Electronic & Electrical Engineer at Obafemi... Read More →
avatar for Pierre François Docquir

Pierre François Docquir

Head of Media Freedom, ARTICLE 19
Finding an approach for online content moderation that protects freedom of expression has become an increasingly pressing concern.ARTICLE 19 proposes the creation of Social Media Councils (SMCs) – a multi- stakeholder accountability mechanism that would provide an open, transparent... Read More →

Wednesday June 12, 2019 5:15pm - 6:30pm
Carthage 2 (Laico)


My Rights, My Internet: Understanding global sentiment towards life online
During this discussion, we will share findings from the recently completed 2019 Global Internet Sentiment Survey (GISS), and discuss what these data mean for the future of safety, trust, and access of the Internet. The GISS provides a unique perspective on perceptions of the Internet and how perceptions shape users’ interactions with and on the Internet. This year’s survey has a particular focus on digital identity, asking respondents about their personal fears and biases when it comes to engaging online. Using these data as a starting point for the discussion, this session will engage attendees and speakers in identifying ways of further collaboration to improve everyday citizens’ experiences online.

The survey, conducted by RIWI in partnership with RNW Media and Access Now is key to the RightsCon community, with the intention of creating a continuous conversation on the perceptions of these topics beyond the conclusion of RightsCon Tunis. Over 50,000 respondents engaged with the survey from 10 countries, many in which these data cannot be collected using traditional means. All data were gathered using RIWI’s proprietary methodology which puts the respondent’s personal safety and privacy at the center ensuring no personally identifiable information is collected. 

avatar for Michele Ernsting

Michele Ernsting

Director Programme Dev., RNW Media
Digital communities, alternative civic space, youth inclusion, love, sex & relationships, data for advocacy and honey bees.
avatar for Carolyn Tackett

Carolyn Tackett

Global Campaign Strategist, Access Now
Carolyn is the Global Campaign Strategist at Access Now — an organization working to defend and extend the rights of users at risk around the world. She works with a diverse team to design advocacy campaigns, raise awareness, and fight for human rights in the digital age. Feel free... Read More →
avatar for Mercedes Fogarassy

Mercedes Fogarassy

Portfolio Manager, Global Citizen Engagement, RIWI Corp.
Mercedes manages the Global Citizen Engagement portfolio at RIWI Corp., focusing on amplifying citizen voices for partners in the humanitarian sector, including the World Food Programme, USAID, Oxfam, Freedom House and more.RIWI is a global survey technology and sentiment analysis... Read More →

Wednesday June 12, 2019 5:15pm - 6:30pm
Jelsa (Laico)


Tumblr, Porn, Sex Work and Queer Lives on a Healthy Internet: What happens when a platform decides to kill communities?
In late 2018, Tumblr announced it was banning NSFW content. This impacts many existing well-developed communities that exist on tumblr. LGBTQ communities have provided support for countless youth who are trying to find safe environments to connect with similar-minded people. Feminist pornographers curate complex and sophisticated feeds of female-focused adult content that is difficult-to-impossible to find elsewhere. Sex workers use the platform to safely promote, communicate, and collaborate in ways that are increasingly difficult in the wake of FOSTA/SESTA legislation, an issue with often life-threatening real-world implications. All these communities and more -- nude models of colour, fandom content creators, transfolk gender activists, and countless others -- are being wiped out by this ban. And while Tumblr does not have a legal obligation to host any of this content, the sudden and short-notice sterilization of millions of accounts, years of content, and archives of queer history is one with wide-reaching effects. What responsibility do platforms have to existing communities? Is it possible for a marginalized digital community to develop at scale without the infrastructure and goodwill of a major corporation? And what happens in a diaspora of hundreds of thousands of content creators, with few platforms willing to host them?

Wednesday June 12, 2019 5:15pm - 6:30pm
L'Escale (Laico)


Who Has Your Back? Censorship Edition 2019 Launch
Join EFF for the launch of this year's Who Has Your Back report. Building on last year's first-ever censorship edition of Who Has Your Back, this report examines major platforms' content moderation policies and adherence to best practices like transparency, notice, and appeals. Kurt Opsahl and Jillian C. York will share our results, including which companies scored the highest, which lagged behind, the improvements we are seeing across the industry, and the weak spots where we need to keep pushing for better human rights-based content moderation policies.

Wednesday June 12, 2019 5:15pm - 6:30pm
Amilcar (Laico)
Thursday, June 13


Delegated Repression: How do the Russian state forces private actors to censor and to surveil?
One of the most pressing issues arising in the discussion of Internet regulation is the role and responsibility of private companies, as well as the delegation of police and propaganda functions to non-state actors (Internet service providers, national IT-companies, pro-government activists and paid commentators). In recent years, the Russian authorities have taken a number of important steps towards seriously restricting Internet freedom and the right to privacy, seeking to promote the approaches they support at the international level, exerting pressure on global platforms and promoting digital sovereignty. Together with prominent experts from Russia and Ukraine we shall talk about the role of quasi-state actors in the control of the Internet, as well as how do authoritatian regimes force Internet companies to block and filter information, to suspend accounts and to give out personal data as well as how ISPs can protect their users.

avatar for Bulat Mukhamedzhanov

Bulat Mukhamedzhanov

Lawyer, Agora International Human Rights Group
Bulat Mukhamedzhanov graduated from the Faculty of Philology (Kazan State University, Russia) in 2007 and since then became a human rights activist. In 2017 he graduated from the university with a law degree.Mukhamedzhanov started his career as a press-secretary of local human rights... Read More →
avatar for Iryna Chulivska

Iryna Chulivska

Digital Security Lab Ukraine

Thursday June 13, 2019 9:00am - 10:15am
Oya 1 (Laico)


The Palestinian Cause for Digital Freedom
This session will focus on internal and external challenges and threats to Palestinian digital freedom. On one side it will discuss legislative measures implemented by the different governmental actors and on-governmental actors, in particular social media companies such as facebook. These different actors threatened and infringe on digital freedoms of Palestinians in different ways with varying methods. At the same time, there's similarities, not only in intentions but also ramifications, which will be discussed in this session.

Thursday June 13, 2019 9:00am - 10:15pm
Leptis (Laico)


Dynamics of Doing Research in Closed Societies: What we can learn from audience research from online exiled media
This Session is intended to foster collaboration between researchers in the fields of media assistance and digital rights. Based on recent work done by the session organizer in several "closed societies", there remains a significant need to better understand risk and security practices when it comes to doing research in high risk environments. There has long been an overlap between digital rights/ internet freedom work and independent media assistance programs, but there continues to be a disconnect between the two sectors. For researchers working to support either sector, the challenges of doing research in closed environments presents many challenges as well as opportunities. During the session, we will share information about the research projects we are working on, including sharing information about research design, data quality, methodology, digital security practices, and tools and platforms we use in our research efforts. This session will bring together researchers, monitoring and evaluation professionals, internet freedom activists, and media development experts to look at an interesting intersection of the digital rights/ internet freedom community and the media development/ press freedom community.

avatar for Susan Abbott

Susan Abbott

Independent Consultant
Susan Abbott is an independent consultant who specializes in working with non-profit organizations, universities, and donors in the areas of media development, civil society assistance, and digital rights. Abbott provides consulting services in the areas of fundraising and grant... Read More →


Maria Hrimech

Head of MENA region, Conflict Management Consulting (CMC)

Ashley Noia

Country Director, IREX

Thursday June 13, 2019 10:30am - 11:45am
L'Escale (Laico)


Methods measuring freedom of internet
This panel will help understand how different metrics, methodologies and tools intertwine, and identify how they can better articulate with each other. It will help networking and engaging in longer-term collaboration across projects that work in the field of Internet Freedom measurement.

Thursday June 13, 2019 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Cyrene (Laico)


Lightning Talks: Drawing the Line on Access to (Dis)information
L'expérience EMI en direction des jeunes Tunisiens comme vecteur de lutte contre la désinformation (IREX Europe and ATMA)

Description: Nous vivons dans un monde qui se transforme rapidement et où l’information et la
communication sont impactées par le numérique. En Tunisie comme ailleurs cela a ses
avantages et ses inconvénients, il a créé un certain désordre d’informations. Chaque individu
peut être à la fois consommateur et producteur de l’information d’où l’existence de vrai, faux,
intox, désinformation… Il nous semble important de proposer à chacun et à chacune quelques
grands repères pour leur permettre de pleinement jouer son rôle de citoyen.

Durant cette session nous allons parler de la contribution de l’Education aux Médias et
à l’Information (EMI) en faveur de la lutte contre la désinformation. L’EMI développe les
compétences nécessaires chez les jeunes tunisiens pour leur permettre de comprendre et
d’évaluer de manière critique l’information rapportée par tous les médias à travers une
approche pédagogique bien définie.

Speaker: Amel Abaeidi

Creating an exotic other: UNgodly, UNTunisian and UNnatural (Mawjoudin)

Description: Prior to 2011, speech has been suppressed and freedom oppressed. Access to information was deemed unacceptable and even a threat to national security. Thanks to the uprising of 2011, a.surge of speech have been set free. Access to information is now a right and social media a tool to both receive and spread information. However, the line between hate speech and freedom of speech remains undefined socially, politically and legally.

In this session, I will try to analyze quantitatively and qualitatively the hate speech inflicted upon queer individuals on social media. The three axes drawn upon this bigotry are religion, nationalism(nativism) and so-thought anthropology.

Speaker: Dhouha Mabrouk

What to really expect from the 5G mobile network standard? (epicenter.works)

What is behind the hype and why 5G could be dangerous for net neutrality? This talk will give a brief summary of the technical foundations and political narratives of the upcoming 5G mobile network standard.

Speaker: Thomas Lohninger

Thursday June 13, 2019 1:00pm - 2:00pm
The BeeHive (Palais)


Who wants to be a terrorist? The radicalisation of free speech control through measures against terrorist content online
Fear of terrorism facilitates the emergence of laws that give multiple powers to law enforcement, through de facto permanently raising threat levels in cities around the world to “code yellow”; to tackling the emergence of radical messaging online as a terrorist radicalisation tool. Civil and human rights organisations navigate a difficult landscape: on one hand, acts of terrorism should be prevented and radicalisation should be counteracted; on the other, regulatory trends conflate fighting terrorism with simply removing controversial content from before our eyes. Many projects documenting human rights violations, including terrorist activity, are already affected by arbitrary content removal decisions taken by internet platforms. In the digital rights movement we believe that the rigorous application of proportionality is the only way to ensure that laws and practices will not radically change the ways we exercise the freedom of speech online. We want to engage participants in the conversation about the global society of the near future. Do we want laws that err on the side of free speech and enable exposure to difficult realities at the risk of keeping terrorist content online? Or do we “go after terrorists” at the price of stifling citizen dissent and obscuring that difficult reality?


Dia Kayyali

Program Manager, tech + advocacy, WITNESS
Dia Kayyali coordinates WITNESS’ tech + advocacy work, engaging with technology companies and working on tools and policies that help human rights advocates safely, securely and ethically document human rights abuses and expose them to the world.
avatar for Daphne Keller

Daphne Keller

Director of Intermediary Liability, Stanford Law School
Daphne Keller is the Director of Intermediary Liability at Stanford's Center for Internet and Society. Her work focuses on platform regulation and Internet users' rights. She has published both academically and in popular press; testified and participated in legislative processes... Read More →
avatar for Diego Naranjo

Diego Naranjo

Senior Policy Advisor, European Digital Rights (EDRi)
avatar for Mario Oetheimer

Mario Oetheimer

avatar for Anass Sedrati

Anass Sedrati

Wikimedia Morocco
Anass Sedrati holds a Bachelor of Arts in MENA cultures and international relations (2017, Stockholm University – Sweden) and two engineering degrees in Telecommunication from Telecom ParisTech (France) and The Royal Institute of Technology (2012, KTH – Sweden). Since 2016,he... Read More →

Thursday June 13, 2019 2:15pm - 3:30pm
Oya 2 (Laico)


Fear, Friction, and Flooding: New models of censorship in the MENA region (the case of Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, and Turkey)
"Fear, friction and flooding" are the three methods coined for new censorship models in oppressive regimes (Roberts, 2018), which captures the essence of new online tactics to stifle freedoms online. This session will look at how conditions have worsened in Bahrain, Egypt, Iran and Turkey in the past year. This session by Motoon will convene technical experts, leading Internet researchers, and digital rights activists working on documenting and resisting censorship in Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia and Bahrain. This session will aim to understand how the situation has evolved in each country. In some instances governments are learning from each other; in other instances governments are working with the private sector to control and surveil their citizens online. While these countries are not the only ones in the region to experience such turbulence in online rights, they are a diverse examples of the languages, geopolitical contexts, and economic situations that are both resounding within the wider region. We will discuss the facts amongst experts, while creating an opportunity to learn from this coalition of regional peers to come up with ways rights advocates in the MENA region can fight against these tightenings using resources of research, documentation, technology and law.

avatar for Emna Mizouni

Emna Mizouni

Emna, a Tunisian-Maghrebi, is a Digital Communications Specialist and the Lead of Digital Citizenship Organization. She is the President-Founder of Carthagina organisation, trying to promote Tunisia globally through digitising heritage. She is an advocate for Open Culture and Open... Read More →

avatar for Afsaneh Rigot

Afsaneh Rigot

Afsaneh Rigot is a researcher looking at the nexus of law, technology, LGBTQ, refugee and human rights issues.She is a research fellow at Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. She also works with ARTICLE 19 on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) t... Read More →
avatar for Mohammed Al-Maskati

Mohammed Al-Maskati

human rights activist and digital security consultant, Front Line Defenders for MENA
Mohammed Abdulnabi al-Maskati is a Bahraini human rights activist and digital security consultant with Front Line Defenders for Middle East and North Africa. He is the founder of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, a leading group in the 2011-2012 Bahraini uprising.
avatar for Isik Mater

Isik Mater

Director of Research, NetBlocks
Isik Mater is Director of Research at NetBlocks and at Turkey Blocks, and vice president of the Alternative Informatics Association. She is a digital rights activist and commentator on internet censorship, cyber-security and information warfare. Isik contributes to Turkish press agency... Read More →

Thursday June 13, 2019 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Carthage 3 (Laico)


Information Expansion in North Korea: Current efforts and challenges
This session will aim to broaden understanding and raise international awareness about the current situation of the government censorship in North Korea. The extent of the government censorship in North Korea is beyond comparison in the 21st century, but the significance of this issue is underrepresented on the global stage. The access to the Internet or foreign media is extremely restricted in the country. During the session, the panel speakers will 1) briefly introduce current research on the government censorship and surveillance technologies in North Korea, such as how the government tracks down the information flow among people, 2) share the current efforts and approaches of human rights activists to expand information into the country in spite of the unprecedented government controls, and 3) open the discussion to brainstorm solutions with audience and seek for collaborations.

Thursday June 13, 2019 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Leptis (Laico)


The Imprisonment of Ola Bini: Building solidarity and protecting the community
The imprisonment Ola Bini has drawn global concern from the UN, OAS and leading tech and human rights groups.

A brief update on the case of the renowned free software, privacy advocate and human rights defender Ola Bini, who is in prison in pre-trial detention in Ecuador. This will be followed by a fishbowl session to strategize with the RightsCom community around his case, build solidarity globally, and explore how to prevent this from happening to other members of the privacy and digital rights community.

avatar for Beatriz Busaniche

Beatriz Busaniche

President of the Vía Libre Foundation, Argentina.Master in Intellectual Property. Professor at the University of Buenos Aires and FLACSO Argentina.She is a professor of Human Rights and Intellectual Property in FLACSO and of Right to Culture in the Faculty of Economic Sciences of... Read More →
avatar for David Kaye

David Kaye

UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression
Prof. Kaye’s scholarship and teaching focus on public international law, especially international human rights law, international humanitarian law, accountability for violations of human rights, and the law governing the use of force. He is just as interested in efforts to translate... Read More →
avatar for Suzie Gilbert

Suzie Gilbert

Free Ola Bini
Suzie Gilbert is part of Free Ola Bini, the campaign around the persecution of the renowned privacy advocate and human rights defender in Ecuador. She works at the intersection of social justice, tech and film. She co-produced the documentary series, "The Untold History of the United... Read More →

Thursday June 13, 2019 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Hannibal (Laico)


Detecting, Understanding, and Countering Censorship of Wikipedia
This panel will provide an overview of how a global and open internet platform like Wikipedia can detect and respond to threats to access to information. Censorship of Wikipedia has been observed in twelve countries, preventing a large swath of the world population from accessing the free online encyclopedia. Wikipedia's global audience presents both an opportunity to track internet accessibility around the world, as well as a challenge to quickly identify and respond to censorship events that affect the platform. First, we will review the historical efforts to detect and understand censorship on Wikipedia. Second, we will identify some of the opportunities and challenges that an open platform faces when responding to censorship. Third, we will present and seek input on some possible ways to help everyday internet users learn about censorship and overcome obstacles to access. We present our tools and findings in this session with the hope of strengthening the relations between such projects and civil society groups working in the field of digital rights towards the common goal of making the Internet free and accessible for all.

avatar for Jan Gerlach

Jan Gerlach

Senior Public Policy Manager, Wikimedia Foundation
I advocate for public policy that promotes free knowledge and Wikipedia.

avatar for Maria Xynou

Maria Xynou

Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)
Maria works with the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), a free software project that aims to increase transparency of internet censorship around the world. She manages OONI's partnerships, engaging human rights communities worldwide with censorship measurement research... Read More →
avatar for Emna Mizouni

Emna Mizouni

Emna, a Tunisian-Maghrebi, is a Digital Communications Specialist and the Lead of Digital Citizenship Organization. She is the President-Founder of Carthagina organisation, trying to promote Tunisia globally through digitising heritage. She is an advocate for Open Culture and Open... Read More →

Thursday June 13, 2019 5:15pm - 6:30pm
Adean (Palais)


Lightning Talks: Fighting censorship, surveillance, and disinformation around the Globe
Qatar Spent Much of 2018 USing US Courts to Try to Umask Critics. What Other States are Doing the Same? (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Description: At RightsCon Brussels, I gave a lightning talk about Kazakhstan's efforts to unmask some of its most prominent critics through several actions in the US, and how we defeated them. This past summer Qatar filed at least 5 separate US lawsuits aimed at 5 different critics so that it could issue subpoenas that would force platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to divulge their identities. This talk will summarize those cases and how they played out. Because we at EFF want to catalog and track these cases and provide legal assistance where necessary, I will also call on attendees to report other incidents, whether occurring in the US or other legal systems. Lastly, I will call for concerted action to reinforce to the platforms the importance of flagging these cases and subpoenas as they arise so civil society can intervene.

Speaker: David Greene

Colombia: the country that said NO to peace (Universidad de Los Andes - Department of Political Science)

Description: After 4 years of negotiations in La Havana between the Colombian Government and the FARC guerillas, Colombians were summoned to the voting polls to give their opinion regarding the agreement between the two parties. The results of the Americas Barometer (2006-2016) show that the majority of Colombians preferred a negotiated peace to a military solution, yet when they were given the chance to cast the votes in October 2016 the NO option - the side against the agreement- surprisingly won. While certainly there are many possible explanations to this phenomenon, the political elite polarization and the dissemination of fake news during the campaign in social media surely had an effect on the outcome of this election. To explain this relationship, this talk will start presenting a short context about Colombia's peace agreement and its referendum. We hope to immerse spectators in this issue and the Colombian political context of year 2016. Afterwards, we will review the data of the Americas Barometer by LAPOP on Colombian perceptions during the campaign, were we will notice the environment of extreme polarization between political camps in the days before the referendum. Matanock and García (2017) conclude that it seems that elite opposition to the peace process, based on division among elites, could be part of the explanation of the plebiscite’s rejections in Colombia. Because of that, we will examine how the leaders of the NO campaign, like former president Alvaro Uribe, fueled this polarization. His communication strategy, his mostly unreliable sources (fake news) and his unprecedented social media popularity surely increased polarization and it most certainly helped tip the balance in favor of the NO side.

Speaker: Catalina Nossa

Tech, surveillance and racism: the story of Operación Huracán (Derechos Digitales)

Description: Operación Huracán is a tragicomic story about a group police officers and a self-proclaimed hacker in the south of Chile, developing tools to surveille indigenous activists. My intention is to exemplify how technology could be used to amplify institutional discriminatory practices, and how dangerous it is not having ways to control and oversight the use of surveillance tools in public security matters.

Speaker: Vladimir Garay

Thursday June 13, 2019 5:15pm - 6:30pm
The BeeHive (Palais)


Media Beyond Borders: Resilient content strategies for reaching audiences in closed societies
The deepening of global internet infrastructure comes with an invigorated capacity and intent by adversaries to control and limit the information that flows across it. Inextricably, embedded power structures underlie the networks through which we interpret and understand our societies and our world - censorship threatens the integrity of the public sphere itself. Media organizations act as a conduit for the free flow of information in the face of such adversity, but are likewise threatened by the technical and often physical capabilities that endeavour to restrict that fundamental freedom. This panel discussion will share experiences and lessons learned from major international broadcasters and independent media organizations affected by internet censorship in different contexts, and discuss the effectiveness of various strategies and responses, lessons learned, and other established best practices. This session will outline significant new developments, innovations, and trends in that emerged over the course of 2018 and discuss the effects on organizations' ability to successfully reach their audiences, as well as broader impacts observed in the media ecosystem. The panel will discuss the various censorship resilience strategies and approaches pursued by the media organizations represented in response to both established regimes of information control and more acute censorship events.

avatar for Arzu Geybullayeva

Arzu Geybullayeva

Journalist, Freelance
Regional analyst, correspondent, and columnist. Former Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellow at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL) and Central Asia Azerbaijan Fellow at George Washington University. Main areas of interest include human rights, advocacy, press freedom, and more recently... Read More →
avatar for Rieneke Van Santen

Rieneke Van Santen

Executive Director, Zamaneh Media
Active in the media development field. Director of an independent media for Iran and consultant in media and NGO management.
avatar for Julian Cable

Julian Cable

Lead Architect, World Service Distribution, BBC
We do what we can to provide verified and impartial news and information for everyone everywhere. Part of my role is to provide technology options both within our organisation and for our audiences to exercise the right to information.

Thursday June 13, 2019 5:15pm - 6:30pm
Celtic (Palais)
Friday, June 14


Kunyamazisha: Gagging online free speech in Sub-Saharan Africa
This session aims to evaluate the state of internet freedom in Sub-Saharan Africa. How netizens are being denied the right to free speech or forced into silence. This will be achieved by straddling both research and practice in our discussion. Hence the main goal of this session is summarised below: 1. To discuss research conducted by DefendDefenders in collaboration with OONI, "Uganda's Social Media Tax through the lens of network measurements” and a creative campaign by Pollicy on perceptions and behaviours by Ugandan citizens to the social media tax passed in July 2018. To carry on the conversation on how to collaboratively create long-term solutions to rampant repressive policies curbing internet freedom across African countries. 2.Share experiences from countries where internet is taxed so as to obtain a clear picture on their impact to internet penetration. Leverage and explore potential frameworks, advocacy strategies that can be taken by stakeholders to revoke and influence change in current policies. Usage of current evidence from monitoring the incidents of violation of digital rights as a means to advocate for policies that protect the online community such as data protection and digital right with proof, way forward and action plans.

avatar for Bulanda Nkhowani

Bulanda Nkhowani

Google Policy Fellow- Southern Africa, Paradigm Initiative

avatar for Nwachukwu Egbunike

Nwachukwu Egbunike

Community Manager Sub-Saharan Africa, Global Voices
My scholarly and journalist writings revolves around social media, politics/ political participation, online free speech and ethnicity. I am the author of "Hashtags: social media, politics and ethnicity in Nigeria".
avatar for Neema Iyer

Neema Iyer

Founder, Pollicy
Civic Technologist, working on the data revolution in Uganda (and East Africa), Digital Rights, Creative Media, Open Data! Come say hi!
avatar for Rebecca Ryakitimbo

Rebecca Ryakitimbo

Google Policy Fellow-East Africa, Paradigm Innitiative

Friday June 14, 2019 9:00am - 10:15am
Celtic (Palais)


Countering hate, preserving free expression
In recent times, there is evidence of use of bots, centres of paid troll armies, volunteer work of online disinformation, and tools for targeted marketing (including the hire of specialised agencies), all used to mobilise for or against political ideas and candidates. As a part of this process, previous debates around Freedom of Expression are also connected, such as the data protection, intermediary liability or the right to be forgotten. There is also a compelling need of considering the role of factors like political polarisation, the use of private messaging applications and foreign interference. With the data collected in the ongoing election cycle in Latin America we perceive the need to discuss the most effective strategy to drive public attention on the documented manipulations, fostering critical thinking and lessons for the future. In particular, think through an open debate how to design tools to educate and get involvement of private sector (media and internet platforms), local authorities around coping these challenges, and see how they should be assessed within the local electoral laws and regulatory frameworks in general.

avatar for Dennys Antonialli

Dennys Antonialli

Executive Director, InternetLab
Dennys Antonialli is the Executive Director of InternetLab, a think tank on internet law and policy based in São Paulo, Brazil. Between 2017 and 2018, Dennys was a Professor of Law at the Department of Public Law of the University of São Paulo Faculty of Law (USP), where he also... Read More →
avatar for Marianne Díaz Hernández

Marianne Díaz Hernández

Public Policy Analyst, Derechos Digitales
Marianne Diaz is a Venezuelan lawyer, digital rights activist and fiction writer, currently based in Santiago, Chile. Her work focuses mainly on issues regarding online freedom of speech, web filtering, internet infrastructure and digital security. She founded the digital rights NGO... Read More →

Friday June 14, 2019 10:30am - 11:45am
Caspian (Palais)


Protecting Freedom of Expression in a Complex World: The role of courts and tribunals
Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression Initiative seeks to advance understanding of the international and national norms and institutions that best protect the free flow of information in an inter-connected global community. One of its flagship projects is an online Global Database of Freedom of Expression Case Law. Supported by a network of international experts, it surveys jurisprudence around the world, critically reviews exemplary cases, engages in comparative analysis, and aims to identify national, regional and global trends. The session will introduce the Global Freedom of Expression Database, highlight significant freedom of expression cases from the last two years, and elaborate their importance in terms of legal reasoning and outcome, nationally, regionally and internationally. The cases will vary thematically and cover issues concerning emerging topics such as as Artificial Intelligence, the role of hyperlinks in journalism, content moderation, as well as classic freedom of expression issues concerning violence against speakers and defamation.

avatar for Bakhtiyor Avezdjanov

Bakhtiyor Avezdjanov

Columbia Global Freedom of Expression
Bach focuses on research and analysis of legal trends related to freedom of expression in Russia and Central Asia.

avatar for Hawley Johnson

Hawley Johnson

Project Manager, Global Freedom of Expression, Columbia University
Hawley Johnson is Project Manager for Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, an initiative to advance the understanding of international and national norms and institutions that best protect the free flow of information and expression in an inter-connected global community. She has... Read More →

Friday June 14, 2019 12:00pm - 1:00pm
L'Escale (Laico)


Refraction Networking: Deploying next-generation censorship circumvention
Refraction Networking (RN) is a new kind of censorship circumvention tool, which is the culmination of more than eight years of research. Unlike conventional circumvention methods that use proxies located on individual hosts, which can be identified or blocked by censors, RN places proxies, called refraction stations, within the networks of participating Internet Service Providers (ISPs). To use RN, users open connections to innocuous, non-complicit websites, and embed a hidden cryptographic signal in these connections. If the connection passes by a refraction station, the station detects the signal and acts as a proxy on behalf of the user, allowing the user to reach any website. To the censor, it appears the client is only connected to an innocuous (unblocked) website, making it difficult for the censor to block without blocking a large number of potentially useful sites. In this session, we will give a high-level description and brief history of Refraction Networking and its challenges, and describe our ongoing deployment that we have operated over the past 6 months. We will describe our experience operating our deployment in heavily-censored regions for hundreds of thousands of users, and describe our ongoing work to scale-up and add new features.


Friday June 14, 2019 2:15pm - 3:30pm
Jelsa (Laico)