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Human Rights | Technology | Security


Empowering civil society to challenge systemic exclusion

Defenders Protection Initiative will bring together actors from civil society, the private sector, business leaders, government, academicians, technologists, activists, journalists and subject matter experts to tackle pressing issues at the intersection of human rights, technology and security.

The Digital Security Conference is a premium convening for stakeholders from technological, business and civic arenas to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the promotion and advancement of human rights in a digital era.

Contrary to the previous editions of the digital security conference, this year’s edition will be a hybrid with both online and physical locations. The programing for this year’s conference will deepen conversations on longstanding issues affecting access to the internet and information, freedom of expression and association, privacy, data protection, digital rights and inclusion. This year the conference is set to attract over 300 participants.

The aim of the conference is to bring together different sector perspectives (e.g. education and social development, human rights, legal, health, ICT, finance, justice, law & order) to highlight the challenges, drivers and consequences of inequality in the age of digitalisation. In this context, we strive to identify viable solutions to ensure the creation of a self-determined society.

Digitalisation has transformed the society we live in today: It has changed the way we communicate, learn, work, and live. Digital technologies provide access to information anytime and anywhere and promise to empower users around the world by delivering more and easier opportunities for transparency and social participation. Despite this potential, modern societies are increasingly witnessing a gaping chasm of inequality as social actors experience differential results of ubiquitous digitalisation around the world. Understanding and finding ways to solve this paradox is a primary motivation for the digital security Conference 2021.



Empowering civil society to challenge systemic exclusion

This year we see an opportunity to increase alignment, build strategic connections and strengthen the connective tissue between civil society, government and the private sector to bridge the gaps and underpin inequality

2020 marked the 25th anniversary of the “digital divide.” Although a quarter century has passed, legacy digital inequalities continue, and emergent digital inequalities are proliferating. Many of the initial schisms identified in 1995 are still relevant today.

Many legacy digital inequalities are now being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic in new ways (Robinson, et al., 2020). In particular, digital inequalities related to healthcare, education, economic disadvantage are even more pronounced. While difficult for all, the digitally under-resourced are at greater risk and bear greater burdens than those who can mitigate the effects of the pandemic with digital resources. This is a fundamental shift from categorical and institutional inequalities to radically different inequalities that could not exist in the absence of the Internet.[1]

Aims & objectives

This conference will provide a forum that will interrogate the dynamics and develop mechanisms to unearth the existing legacy and emergent forms of inequality that radically diminish individuals’ agency and augment the power of technology creators, big tech, and other already powerful social actors in order to underpin exclusion in this digital era

Specifically, the conference objectives will pivot around the following thematic priorities; 

Governance & Representation

  • Representation of maginalised groups in a digital society
  • Citizen participation in e-governance
  • Law and Legal aspects of digital surveillance
  • Digital Inclusion

  • Privacy Ethics & Security

  • Digitised individual society and policy implications
  • Data science and research lifecycle in the digital age
  • Digital Security, privacy and data protection
  • Ethical challenges and implications of AI and automation
  • Algorithimic Governance

  • Access & Wellbeing

  • Access to broadband internet as a human right
  • Adoption of digital education, learning and teaching
  • Digitised individual health and well being
  • Work-life balance and work-life integration
  • Access and participation in platform economy
  • Digital currency and Fintech economics
  • Digital skills and labour market transformation

  • Plenary Session

    The plenary session will be an exploratory discussion from subject matter experts, civil society leaders, business leaders, policy makers and strategic stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities in decoding foundational inequalities to underpin systemic exclusion. The discussion will cover the following topics;
    1. Infrastructure Projects that Include Affordability, Digital Literacy, and Public
    2. Digital Literacy training strategies and models
    3. Social equity and digital inclusion.
    4. Digital equity strategies.
    5. Implications of Gender and Sexuality on online activity
    6. Digital Inclusion for persons with disabilities
    7. E-governance and representation

    Thematic Break-away Sessions

    Parallel working forums will enable direct interactions among participants. The main aim of the debate is to identify common challenges and major barriers, share examples of interesting practice and develop practical solutions in planning and setting up new as well as managing and evaluating existing mechanisms to underpin identifies inequalities. Within each workshop, there will be an opportunity to explore technical assistance needs in overcoming the challenges and barriers, linked to the particular theme of each session;

    Summing up sessions

    These sessions will be bringing delegates together to summarise the outcomes of the debate in thematic working forums; rapporteurs from each group will briefly summarise the workshop discussions and highlight the key issues and potential solutions as well as examples of transferable practice.

    Advisory sessions

    An opportunity for participants to receive tailored advice from high level policy and donor representatives with regards to setting up new and managing existing mechanisms to underpin any of the existing identified inequalities.

    Key Lessons & Way Forward

    This session will offer a facilitated debate and
    reflections on the key messages emerging from the conference.


    [dt-section-title title="Steps to register on Hopin platform"]

    Step 1: Click on the Register button on the Registration page

    Step 2: Select the “Participants Tickets”

    Step 3: Create a New Account or sign in if you already have a Hopin account

    Step 4: You can choose to set up your account using your social media or Gmail account or Select “Signup with email” to choose the email to setup with and create a password

    Step 5: Click “Complete order” and then you should receive a confirmation email that your account is ready and this should log you into the event space.

    [1] Robinson, L., Schulz, J., Dunn, H. S., Casilli, A. A., Tubaro, P., Carvath, R., Chen, W., Wiest, J. B., Dodel, M., Stern, M. J., Ball, C., Huang, K.-T., Blank, G., Ragnedda, M., Ono, H., Hogan, B., Mesch, G. S., Cotten, S. R., Kretchmer, S. B., Hale, T. M., Drabowicz, T., Yan, P., Wellman, B., Harper, M.-G., Quan-Haase, A., & Khilnani, A. (2020). Digital inequalities 3.0: Emergent inequalities in the information age. First Monday25(7). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i7.10844

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