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CONFERENCE PROGRAMME

Opening Plenary: Open and Accessible Internet for All

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The Opening Plenary of the Freedom Online Conference will focus on the current challenges and opportunities for achieving open and accessible internet for all. The Plenary will discuss the progress toward global connectivity, overcoming existing digital divides and growing digital authoritarianism, and the steps toward achieving open and accessible internet and human rights for all.

Panellists

Combatting the Rise of Digital Authoritarianism

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As the FOC celebrates its 10th anniversary, the global trajectory with respect to its core mission of protecting freedom online is moving in a negative direction. This session will pose questions to panellists to discuss how the FOC can develop a strategic plan to combat the spread of digital authoritarianism and the role it should play in confronting the existential threat to democratic values-based governance in 21st century digital society.

Panellists

Beyond T-FAIR: Exploring Lessons Learned

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Launched in April 2020 and mandated until the 2021 Freedom Online Conference, the Task Force on Artificial Intelligence has responded to the challenges and opportunities brought about by the advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI), providing a space for members of the Freedom Online Coalition and the Advisory Network to promote human rights respecting AI. This panel session will reflect on the progress of the Task Force toward advancing the application of the international human rights framework to the global governance of AI.

Panellists

Beyond Pegasus: Improving Transparency, Rights Protection and Accountability in the Surveillance Tech Space

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This session will explore lessons that can be learned from the Global Network Initiative’s history and work to promote responsible business conduct in the broader ICT sector, including the extent to which these initiatives may provide lessons for how (and how not) to improve transparency, rights protection, and accountability in the surveillance tech space.

Panellists

Multistakeholder Approach to Develop Guiding Principles on Diversity of Content Online

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The Department of Canadian Heritage is organizing this panel session with members of its multistakeholder working group to answer the questions of: What have been the benefits of the approach? What challenges were faced in working in a multistakeholder fashion? Where to go next? How to get there? What concrete actions could be taken to implement the guiding principles and by whom? How to keep the guiding principles relevant in the face of the fast-changing digital environment?

Panellists

Promoting Meaningful, Equitable Internet Access

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This interactive session will enable panellists to discuss varied digital inclusion efforts in their unique contexts in order to together derive a more nuanced view of digital divides and inclusion efforts. It will enable participants to draw on empirical lessons from research and practice to recalibrate their focus on promoting access to rather promoting meaningful, equitable access - or digital equality - while also addressing the risks that accompany access to and use of digital technologies.

Panellists

Civil Society Briefing for AHC-FOC Membership: Digital Rights, Human Rights, and a UN Cybercrime Treaty

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In December 2019, an Ad Hoc Committee was established to elaborate a UN convention on cybercrime, and substantive negotiations will soon launch in January 2022. As part of this process, civil society will have the opportunity to engage in the Ad Hoc Committee. Ahead of the first negotiating session, the United States would like to offer a platform for civil society to offer their viewpoints and recommendations to AHC-FOC Membership on the treaty process, particularly as it relates to digital rights and human rights.

Panellists

Data and Human Rights: Striving for Meaningful Transparency and a Fair Data Economy

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In this session, the angles of transparency and accountability to the use of data are looked at from the angle of human agency, human rights and freedom online. We’ll examine solutions and showcase best practices from the different countries and sectors. The session will initiate a discussion within the Freedom Online Coalition on the practices for personal data gathering, processing and sharing, contributing to positioning data as a more central issue to the work of FOC in the future. It will also consider some of the barriers that exist for meaningful transparency from companies and governments alike, as well as potential solutions.

Panellists

How to Avoid Digital ID Systems That Put People at Risk: Lessons from Afghanistan

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The aim of the panel is to use the lessons learned from the Afghanistan case to take a critical and realistic look at the implementation of digital identification programs around the world. The speakers will comment, from their experience, on the issues that must be addressed by decision makers to avoid putting people at risk and violating their human rights. There will also be a time for questions and answers with the audience that will serve to build collective knowledge around the idea of a critical and realistic vision of digital identity.

Panellists

FOC Task Force on Internet Shutdowns and Defending Democracy Online

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This event will serve as the launch of the FOC’s Task Force on Internet Shutdowns. It will begin with a brief description of the task force’s structure and mission, led by speakers from the U.S. Department of State, Access Now, and the Global Network Initiative (GNI). These organizations are the task force’s founding chairs. The session will also feature breakout rooms engaging participants in answering two questions: How can well-intentioned governments protect individuals and democratic values online without resorting to Internet shutdowns? And what levers of influence can FOC members and partners use to influence the behavior of states that engage in Internet shutdowns?

Panellists

Tech for Democracy and Ways to Jointly, Responsibly, and Proactively Take Action

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This session will reflect on the multistakeholder Tech for Democracy Conference and prior consultations and explore ways to jointly, responsibly and proactively take action and promote the use of digital technologies for democracy and human rights.

Panellists

To be announced shortly.

Ministerial Meeting

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To mark the Freedom Online Coalition’s 10th anniversary, Finland, as the Chair, will organise a virtual FOC 10th Anniversary Ministerial Meeting on 3 December 2021 hosted by Finland’s Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto. The meeting will be the culmination of Finland’s Chairship and an important opportunity to raise the visibility of the Coalition and set the FOC's goals and a vision for the 2020s.

Panellists