Will the world’s human rights defenders be able to match the pace of rapidly increasing technological challenges arising from artificial intelligence, information warfare and more?
Rights activists, tech leaders and other stakeholders are meeting June 5-8 at RightsCon Costa Rica to collectively set an agenda for advancing human rights in this digital age.
Our experts in the Digital Forensics Research Lab are coordinating part of that effort, with a slate rightscon events as part of 360/Open Summit: Around the World global programming. Below are highlights of RightsCon’s programs, which include digital infrastructure in Africa, disinformation in Ukraine, online harassment of women globally, and more.
latest from san jose
— DFRLab (@DFRLab) June 7, 2023
Day 1 ends with suggestions for Africa’s digital transformation, Venezuela’s digital connectivity and an inclusive web
by Laila Mashkoor
This year at RightsCon Costa Rica, DFRLab previewed its upcoming Task Force for a Trustworthy Future Web report and human rights to talk about digital infrastructure in Africa, misinformation in Latin America and Ukraine, and the impact of online harassment Gathered defenders and technical leaders. On women in political life, and what will happen with the EU Digital Services Act.
Programming began on June 5 with the Digital Sherlock Training Program in San Jose, which held sessions in both English and Spanish for the first time. The aim of the workshop was to provide human rights defenders with the tools and skills they need to build movements that are resilient to disinformation.
On 6 June, programming began with a meeting on centering human rights in the African Union’s digital transformation strategy, DFRLab gathered stakeholders from the democracy, rights and tech communities across the African continent to discuss the African Union’s digital transformation strategy. Participants compare notes and identify opportunities for impact as the strategy approaches the mid-mandate review.
Afterwards, DFRLab, Venezuela Inteligente, and Access Now hosted a session on Strengthening Venezuela’s Digital Information Ecosystem, A coalition-building meeting with twenty organizations. The discussion stemmed from a DFRLab analysis of the country’s media ecosystem and Venezuela’s needs and capabilities related to digital security, literacy and connectivity. Speakers emphasized on ways to serve vulnerable groups.
Following these discussions, DFRLab participated in a dialogue previewing findings from Task Force for a Dependable Future Web, DFRLab’s task force is convening a broad cross-section of industry, civil-society and government leaders to set a clear and action-oriented agenda for the future online ecosystem. As the task force wrapped up its report, members discussed one of the group’s key findings: the importance of inclusive design in product, policy and regulatory development. To wrap up the first day of DFRLab programming at RightsCon Costa Rica, the task force informed the audience that it will launch its report in the coming weeks.
Laila Mashkoor is associate editor at the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab
What does a trustworthy web look like?
by Jacqueline Malaret and Abigail Vollam
DFRLab’s Task Force for a Trustworthy Future Web is creating a clear and action-oriented roadmap for the future online ecosystem to protect users’ rights, support innovation, and center trust and safety principles . As the Task Force concludes its report, members join Task Force Director Kat Duffy to discuss one of the Task Force’s key findings—Inclusive Design in Product, Policy, and Regulatory Development—on the first day of RightsCon Costa Rica Importance of
In just eight weeks, Elon Musk took over Twitter, the cryptocurrency market crashed, ChatGPT launched, and major steps were taken in the development of augmented reality and virtual reality, fundamentally changing the landscape that we live in. How to engage with technology. Leading the panel, Duffy highlighted how not only has technology changed at an enormous pace, but the trust and security industry has also rapidly grown and commercialized, making the digital world safer for all. There have been risks, pitfalls and opportunities.
The three panelists—Agustina del Campo, director of the Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression; Night Dad, executive director of the Digital Rights Foundation; And Victoire Rio, a digital-rights advocate—agreed that the greatest risk, which could cause the greatest harm, is shaping industry practices through a Western-centric lens, without allowing space for the global majority. Is. Excluding a population from the conversation around tech only reinforces the mistakes of the past and creates a knowledge gap. Additionally, there was talk of the risk of losing sight of the role of government, ushering in self-regulation as an industry norm, and absolving both companies and the state for losses caused by the adoption of these technologies. .
Where there is risk, there is also opportunity to build technologies that are safe and respect rights. Panellists said they found promise in the commercialization and organization of industry, which can create a space for dialogue and for civil society to engage and innovate. They are also encouraged that more and more industry engagement is taking place within the framework of international law and universal human rights. Speakers were encouraged by new opportunities to shape regulation in a way that links action around systemic and forward-looking solutions.
But how can industry, philanthropy and civil society maximize these opportunities? There is an inherent need to support civil society which is already deeply engaged in this work and to help develop the sector, especially in the global majority. There is also a need to advance research that can shift the narrative to encourage trust and investment in security teams and make a clear case for the existence of this work.
Jacqueline Mallaret is assistant director at the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab
Abigail Volum is assistant director at the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab
Mapping—and Addressing—The Information Desert of Venezuela
by Iria Puyosa and Daniel Suarez Perez
On June 6, DFRLab, Venezuela Intelligentsia, and Access Now (which runs RightsCon) hosted a coalition-building meeting with twenty organizations currently working on strengthening Venezuela’s digital information ecosystem. The discussion was based on an analysis by DFRLab of the country’s media ecosystem and digital security, literacy and connectivity; Speakers focused on ways to serve vulnerable groups such as grassroots activists, human rights defenders, border populations, and populations of areas afflicted by irregular armed groups.
The idea of developing a pilot project in an information desert covering four dimensions – connectivity, relevant information, security and literacy – was discussed. Participants agreed that projects should combine technological solutions to enhance access to connectivity and generate relevant information for communities, with a focus on human rights. In addition, projects must include a digital- and media-literacy component and ongoing support for digital security.
eria puyosa is a Senior Research Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab
Daniel Suarez Perez is a research associate for Latin America in the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab
— DFRLab (@DFRLab) June 5, 2023
Where open-source intelligence meets human rights advocacy
by Ana Arriagada
On June 5, DFRLab hosted a Digital Sherlock Workshop on Strengthening Human Rights Advocacy and Countering Disinformation through Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT).
I co-led the workshop with DFRLab Associate Researchers Jean Le Roux, Daniel Suárez Pérez, and Esteban Ponce de León.
In the session, attendees discussed the worrying rise of theocratic governments in Latin America—such as in Nicaragua and Guatemala—that are using open-source tools for digital surveillance and criminalizing the work of journalists and human rights defenders Are. When faced with these challenges, it becomes imperative for civil-society organizations to acquire and use investigative skills to conduct well-documented reports and investigations.
During the workshop, DFRLab researchers shared their experiences investigating paid campaigns that spread misinformation or promote violence or online harassment. He went about using an array of tools to analyze the origin and behavior of these paid ads.
The DFRLab researchers also discussed tools that have helped them spot suspicious activity on platforms such as YouTube, where, for example, some gamer channels spread videos related to disinformation campaigns or political violence. Workshop attendees also discussed how policy changes at Twitter have made the platform increasingly challenging to investigate, but noted that open-source researchers are still investigating, given the tools and researchers available. Thanks for the help creative methods.
The workshop also showcased the work of DFRLab with the Action Coalition on Meaningful Transparency (ACT). Attendees received a preview of ACT’s upcoming portal launch, for which DFRLab has been providing guidance. The new resource will provide access to a repository of transparency reporting, policy documents and analysis from companies, governments and civil society. It will also include a registry of relevant actors and initiatives, and will allow users to establish links between entries so that they can see connections between organizations, the initiatives they are involved in, and the reports they publish.
The workshop ended with DFRLab explaining that social network analysis—the study of social relationships and structures using graph theory—is important because it allows investigating suspicious activity or paranormal behavior displayed by users on social media platforms.
ana arriagada is assistant director for Latin America at the Atlantic Council DFR Lab