Iran Cyber Dialogue and RightsCon Brussels 2017 – timely and impactful

Access Now is once again proud to work with ASL19 to bring the Iran Cyber Dialogue to RightsCon Brussels 2017.

RightsCon is much more than a conference – it’s a collection of many vibrant and dedicated communities, all coalescing to tackle the most pressing issues at the intersection of technology and human rights.

We’ve already told you why we’re bringing RightsCon to Brussels in 2017 – to help build space for these communities to connect with decision makers in Europe. By opening up the Brussels “bubble,” we’re striving to make RightsCon 2017 the place where organizations, movements, and communities can meaningfully advance their work tackling the world’s toughest challenges on the digital frontier. ASL19’s Iran Cyber Dialogue (ICD) exemplifies this concept.

Convening as a pre-event for RightsCon Brussels, the Iran Cyber Dialogue is an annual global conference on technology and free expression that aims to develop multidisciplinary solutions to human rights challenges in Iran. Since it takes place in conjunction with RightsCon, the conference can enable participants from every sector to meet, mingle, network, and develop real-world solutions with people that they would otherwise rarely be in the same room with. The conversations that are developing in the community have a practical focus, exploring issues like how developers of privacy, anonymity, and circumvention tools can better address the needs of human rights advocates.

These conversations are especially important to have right now in the European context.

Secondary sanctions on Iran are being lifted through the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action deal, and that means that European firms are now able to do business with Iran. For ASL19, this signals a real opportunity to work with European leaders, whether in government or business, to help shape initiatives that make technology for human rights more accessible to Iranians. By engaging with members of the European Parliament at RightsCon, ASL19 can extend human rights to the at-risk citizens in Iran, and open up services that allow them to exercise their freedom of expression and access to information.

The major themes for ICD 2017 will be cyber attacks, online protection, sanctions, cross-regional learning, and censorship/circumvention. Brussels has relative proximity to the MENA region, and we hope  to maximize representation from these regions for both ICD and RightsCon as a whole.

These issues are part of Access Now’s DNA: we began our journey in 2009 during the Iranian election, when our founders — part of an emergency team of technologists and activists that helped get citizens back online — decided to form our organization. We continue to work on digital rights in Iran, the MENA region, and around the world, including through our Digital Security Helpline.

The ICD is an outcomes-driven community movement that seeks to defend and extend the digital rights of users at risk, which is fully concordant with Access Now’s mission.  That is why we’re so excited to have ICD alongside RightsCon Brussels 2017.

We anticipate having other satellite events as well, which we expect will help deepen engagement and drive more outcomes in regions across the globe. For more information and updates on RightsCon Brussels 2017, be sure to register your interest.