Happy 5th birthday to the Internet Freedom Festival!

This week, from April 1-5, the Internet Freedom Festival is celebrating its fifth year of bringing together a global gathering of grassroots activists, journalists, and other freedom fighters to join forces in the battle against censorship and surveillance. This year’s IFF is focused on a theme of gratitude, and we want to extend our thanks to the event organizers and to each person who has gathered here for all their hard work in defense of human rights and a more free and open internet.

Our team is happy to be engaging with the IFF community, diving into the many important issues on the program, and connecting with partners to hone our strategies and move forward on priority projects as we work to defend and extend the rights of users at risk. Representatives from Access Now’s advocacy, policy, tech, and RightsCon teams are here and eager to meet with you. Feel free to reach out to Carolyn Tackett, Access Now’s Global Campaign Strategist, at [email protected] to get connected.

While we will be broadly listening, learning, and contributing to the conversations happening at IFF, we especially encourage you to join us for the following sessions:

#KeepItOn: The global coalition to end internet shutdowns

The #KeepItOn coalition is made up of 187 organizations across 66 countries, all working together to prevent, monitor, detect, and combat internet shutdowns.  

On Wednesday, 5:15-6:15pm, in Sunny, we invite you to an exhibition exploring the human impact of internet shutdowns, built from submissions to the Shutdown Stories Project. Access Now staff and coalition members will be present to discuss the campaign, the various approaches to combating network disruptions around the world, and opportunities to get involved. Stop by and say hello!

Digital ID programs — what do they mean for privacy?

Around the world, governments are developing digital identity programs that aim, at least on their face, to improve efficiency and provide universal access to a wide range of vital public services. While in certain contexts these programs can provide important benefits, particularly for refugees and other at-risk communities, they also present serious risks to privacy and other human rights.

Living or working in a country where a digital national ID program has already been implemented? Join us to share your experience. Operating in a context where the government or other development actors are considering implementation of a digital ID program? Come connect to talk about strategies for maximizing privacy protections. Technologist working on data security? Let’s have a conversation about the tools and processes necessary to build rights-respecting digital ID systems.

We invite you to join us on Tuesday, 2:45-3:45pm, in Taller 6 to connect on this important emerging issue.

Offering direct support at the Digital Security Clinic

Members of Access Now’s Digital Security Helpline will be available 10am to 12pm on Wednesday in the IFF Expo to answer any questions you have about improving your personal or organizational security. You can also email [email protected] for assistance at any time, or to request a meeting in person at another time throughout the week.

Stop by the Mentor Desk

On Thursday, 12-2pm, Access Now’s MENA Policy Council and U.N. lead Wafa Ben-Hassine will be at the Mentor Desk in La Plaza. Stop by to chat about opportunities for regional collaboration, strategies for U.N. advocacy, participating in RightsCon Tunis, and more.