OTF at RightsCon 2015

Mon, 2015-03-23 13:30

The Open Technology Fund (OTF) will be at RightsCon 2015, convening in Manila, Philippines from March 24-25. OTF will host and co-host two sessions, and OTF-supported projects and fellows will participate as well. Noteworthy OTF participants and events include:

  • GlobaLeaks: The First and Most Used Free and Open Source Whistleblowing Framework (GlobaLeaks) – GlobaLeaks, the first and most-used free and open source whistleblowing framework, will showcase their platform during Day 1’s Tech Demo/Lightning Talks, which feature “regional and global developers working on tech for advancing human rights.” “Already used by investigative journalists, media, activists and human rights associations, GlobaLeaks is the standard de facto of the whistleblowing technologies. GlobaLeaks is actually in use all around the world increasing transparency, protecting sources, fighting corruption and helping to defend human rights. This lightning talk will illustrate how GlobaLeaks is being used around the world.”
  • Vietnam’s Citizen Media in the Shadow of Repression (Viet Tan) – “This Vietnam-centric panel will offer an in-depth look at the challenges, opportunities, and successes of citizen media in Vietnam. The panel will focus on the human consequences to Vietnam’s media restrictions featuring case studies of bloggers and journalists in prison, examine how traditional and non-traditional news and information dissemination have flourished in spite of the Vietnamese government’s restriction, look at how local telecommunications companies in Vietnam play a role in the suppression of freedom of expression and point out the instances when foreign companies, nonprofits, stakeholders, and local actors have pushed for openness and won.”

In conjunction with the event, Viet Tan just released a new report, “Vietnam’s Social Media Landscape.” Click here to check it out.

  • Understanding Users and Their Needs: A Needfinding Framework for Internet Freedom (SecondMuse) – “This session will be an interactive workshop for developers and intermediary organizations that want to better understand how to engage/understand users. The format of the workshop will have a mix of Storytelling of key learnings emerging from implementing the Needfinding Framework with the Tibetan diaspora and Vietnamese online activist communities.”
  • Open Donor Q&A – OTF will be facilitating this session, with representatives from DRL’s Internet Freedom Program, the Astraea Foundation, and Open Society Foundation for an open forum on the role public funds play in the Internet freedom community, and share insights on what donors look for in requests for funds, how to best communicate your idea or existing project, and other advice to project new to non-profit funding.
  • Support for Tech and Human Rights: What’s Next? – Technology is both complicit and witness to everyday human rights violations, be it a privacy violation in the cloud, censorship at a digital border, or in the pocket of a protester on-the-ground. Being able to respond quickly to those human rights defenders under threat, while simultaneously exploring ways to protect against future (but not yet pressing) Internet freedom threats, are desired among funders and grantees, yet can be challenging to implement both successfully. Further, finding ways to solve the hardest problems common among technology and human rights projects still remain to be discovered. This session, hosted by OTF, aims to have an open and frank discussion on such obstacles, and how stakeholders in technology and human rights can overcome them as a broader community.

There will be a ton of amazing happenings going on at RightsCon. We are especially excited about:

  • Asia Chats: Security and Privacy of Asian Messaging Apps (Citizen Lab) – “In Asia, mobile chat apps like WeChat, LINE, and KakaoTalk are hugely popular and rapidly expanding into new markets. The growth of these applications and strategies from the companies behind them to attract an international user base raise questions regarding the kind of pressures they may face in specific jurisdictions to censor or monitor communications and provide governments with user data and how they will respond to these demands. The Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto has been actively researching privacy, security, and censorship in popular Asian chat apps. Join Citizen Lab and partners to share latest findings on these apps and explore strategies for helping users make more informed decisions about the apps they use and engaging companies to improve privacy and security.”
  • Filtering free expression in South East Asia: Challenges and Opportunities (Article 19 & Citizen Lab) – “Governments have increasingly sought to impose information controls (e.g., censorship and filtering) on the Internet as more and more people are seeking and sharing information, running campaigns, and engaging in political discourse online. Information controls can be applied in highly dynamic ways that respond to events on the ground—particularly around major events such as elections or transfers of powers, global conferences, and armed conflicts—and may include multiple actors, such as states, private companies, criminal or militant groups, and civil society organizations. In this session, ARTICLE 19, the Citizen Lab, and a number of civil society representatives from the Southeast Asian region including Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar, will engage in discussions about the legal and technological forms of information controls, and the instances in which they have been applied.”

For a full RightsCon 2015 schedule (PDF), click here.