RightsCon checklist: 15 ways to save the internet and protect democracy

Speaking at a panel discussion at RightsCon on Tuesday, Protecting digital civic space: the role of technology in supporting democracy, Access Now Executive Director Brett Solomon outlined 15 things governments can do to make sure technology is used to defend — not destroy — democracy and human rights. 

Here’s that list, with added links to relevant information and resources for getting the job done.

  1. Get the whole population online, especially the most marginalized 
  2. Protect encryption rather than undermine it
  3. Legislate enforceable and robust data protection laws
  4. Make multi-stakeholderism real by consulting with digital civil society
  5. Join the Freedom Online Coalition
  6. Be consistent at home and abroad on digital rights practices and policy
  7. Ban facial recognition and all biometric surveillance in publicly accessible spaces
  8. Ensure content regulation by states and moderation by companies is rights respecting
  9. Don’t spy on citizens nor deploy surveillance infrastructure against marginalized communities
  10. Resist moves toward so-called data and digital sovereignty, which enable authoritarianism
  11. Stop unlawfully requesting user data from tech companies
  12. Protect the right to freedom of assembly and peaceful protest online
  13. Ensure that COVID tracing apps, vaccine passports, and other pandemic responses don’t destroy privacy and freedom of movement in the meantime
  14. Train your judges, policy makers, and legislators in digital rights
  15. #KeepitOn

You can watch the entire recorded session here:


We hope you’re joining us for RightsCon this week (June 7-11). If you missed the registration deadline or are not able to attend, here’s how you can follow along!