Mission Bay Conference Center

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1675 Owens Street, San Francisco, CA

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RightsCon Silicon Valley 2016

Wednesday, March 30 - Friday, April 1, 2016

RightsCon Summit Series

RightsCon is the world’s leading event convened around the issues of the internet and human rights. The annual conference convenes business leaders, visionaries, technologists, legal experts, civil society members, activists, and government representatives from across the globe on issues at the intersection of tech and human rights.

Our program

This year, we had three days ofprogrammingplus a day of satellite events (Day Zero satellite events + three full days of main programming), tackling some of today’s most challenging business and policy issues: freedom of expression, online harassment and countering violent extremism, privacy and digital security, encryption, network discrimination and connectivity, human rights, trade and business, transparency reporting, digital inclusion, internet governance, and much more. You can find our program schedulehere, and watch all recorded sessionsonline.

Connecting across sectors

With 250+ sessions and over 1,000 registered participants, RightsCon 2016 provided unparalleled opportunities to engage with leading speakers and organizations, both in sessions and through private meetings and discussions. It was also home to an array of parties, movie screenings, and social events throughout the week to help participants meet others in the space.


This year’s program themes will include:

Freedom of Expression:
Content management, the latest in media and journalism, internet shutdowns, countering violent extremism online, and anti-hate speech.

Network Discrimination and Connectivity:
Wearables and the internet of things, global connectivity, net neutrality in the EU and abroad, zero-rating, broadband and internet access.

Privacy and Digital Security:
Privacy Shield, anonymity, surveillance, cybersecurity, data protection, transnational data agreements, General Data Protection Regulation, and encryption.

Human Rights, Trade, and Business:
Competition in the digital economy, OTT regulation, transparency and accountability, terms of service, export controls, FinTech, and more.

Internet Governance and Digital Inclusion:
Internet governance (WSIS, ICANN, IGF issues), diversity, gender inclusion, and improving accessibility online.

The RightsCon Summit Series is brought to you by Access Now.

Access Now is an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to defending and extending the digital rights of users at risk around the world. By combining innovative policy, global advocacy, and direct technical support, we fight for open and secure communications for all.

We are a team of 40, with local staff in more than 10 locations around the world - Berlin, Brussels, Cordoba, Delhi, London, Manila, Nairobi, New York, San Jose, Tunis, and Washington DC. We maintain four legally incorporated entities - Belgium, Costa Rica, Tunisia, and the United States - with our tech, advocacy, policy, granting, and operations teams distributed across all regions.

Access Now Europe
Access Now is pleased to operate a legally incorporated entity in the city of Brussels, where we are a leading civil society voice that advocates for policies which defend and extend the digital rights of users. Our Brussels team focuses on a broad range of issues at the EU-level, including privacy and data protection, surveillance and national security, privatized enforcement, corporate social responsibility and network neutrality.

If you are traveling to the U.S. from another country, please take a moment to review this information to determine if you will need to apply for a visa.

Recent changes in U.S. laws governing visa policy and procedures have increased the amount of time it can take to obtain a visa, so we encourage you to apply early! Even with the visa processing improvements that have been made and will continue to be made, it is inevitable that delays will sometimes occur. Processing times will vary. The State Department's goal is visa delivery no more than 30 days from the time of application in most cases, although cases that require administrative processing could take longer.

Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of 37 currently participating countries to travel to the U.S. without obtaining a visa. In addition to the country, there are specific passport and air carrier requirements that you must follow. Mainly, you must fly on an approved air carrier and your passport must be electronically readable (with a chip or magnetic strip). Please visit the following link to determine if your country of origin qualifies for this program as well as any special country-specific travel requirements:

What type of visa do you need?
Conference attendees and participants will need to apply for a B-1 Business Visitor Visa. This type of visa covers anyone visiting the U.S. for the purposes of a conference, meeting, trade show or business event attendee, who will be receiving no salary or income from a U.S. based company or entity. This visa covers travel for scientific, educational or business purposes. Please visit this link for additional details on the B-1 visa:

Which U.S. Embassy or Consular Office should I apply at?
The first step of the visa process is to determine which is the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate who will be assisting you in the visa application process. Please note that each office may have their own specific set of requirements, so it is very important to visit the website of your local jurisdiction to determine any special needs as you prepare your visa application. Please visit the following link to determine your local jurisdiction:

After you have determined which is your local embassy or consulate, you will submit your visa application electronically via the following link:

You should have the following documents available while you complete your DS-160:

  • Passport
  • Travel itinerary, if you have already made travel arrangements.
  • Dates of your last five visits or trips to the United States, if you have previously travelled to the United States. You may also be asked for your international travel history for the past five years.
  • Résumé or Curriculum Vitae - You may be required to provide information about your current and previous education and work history.
Electronically submitting your DS-160 online application is the FIRST STEP in the visa application process. The next step is to review the internet page of the embassy or consulate where you plan to apply for your visa. Most visa applicants will need to schedule a visa interview, though some applicants may qualify for visa renewal. The embassy or consulate information may include specific local instructions about scheduling interviews, submitting your visa application, payment and other frequently asked questions.


How long will I have to wait to get my visa?
Please note that processing times vary greatly from region to region, so it is very important to get a sense of what your wait time could be. This link can advise you on current wait times for visa appointments and processing times at all the U.S. consulates and embassies worldwide. Simply choose the appropriate office from the list: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/wait-times.html/

Countries with limited or no U.S. Visa Service
U.S. embassies and consulates are sometimes forced to limit or, at times, suspend visa services because of natural disasters, civil unrest, war, and/or security concerns, among other reasons. The list below notes the U.S. embassies and consulates that currently provide limited visa services, locations where visa services are suspended, and countries that do not have U.S. embassies or consulates.

U.S. Visa Frequently Asked Questions:

RightsCon 2017 will be held in Brussels, Belgium.

Access Now is committed to providing support to as many participants from civil society as we can to Brussels. However, this funding is very limited -- so we’ve set up some criteria to guide us in making these decisions. Please refer to the following when applying for travel support funding.


Rule #1: You must submit a session proposal, or be named in a proposal, to apply for funding.

In order to be considered for funding, you have to have submitted a session proposal yourself, or be named in a submitted proposal that someone else has submitted as a participant. You are eligible to apply for funding if you’re listed by name in any proposal as a desired participant.


Rule #2: We will take into account need, region, gender, topic, and age when making decisions.

We’re committed to diversity of all types, and so we need to take into account things like gender balance, geographic representation, etc., when making our decisions. Our programming committee will take those issues into account when judging your session proposals too. So for funding, your chances are better if your proposal is representative of the diverse community we work with.


Rule #3: We will offer varying levels of support.

We’re asking that those who have institutional backing attempt to get independent funding. If you can finance your attendance with only partial support -- just accommodation, for example -- that may make it easier for us to fund you.


How does travel support get processed?

Applications for travel support are currently being reviewed. We are evaluating applications and will be notifying potential recipients on a rolling basis.

RightsCon is a special event that brings together hundreds of people from across the globe to discuss the future of the open internet. Many of the topics are complex and contested. Here are a couple of underlying principles that help to ensure that the conversation and experience at RightsCon is respectful, honest, and open:

  • We strive to make RightsCon a safe and respectful space where anyone, irrespective of nationality, gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disability, age, or sexual orientation, has the right to be free from harassment;
  • RightsCon is a pluralist environment. Those who take part in sessions and other activities should act fairly, honestly, and in good faith with other participants. That means active listening (especially if you have the loudest voice), acting with integrity and respect even when you disagree, and facilitating transparency and openness as much as possible;
  • RightsCon has a zero-tolerance policy: harassment of any kind, including sexual harassment, will not be tolerated. Access Now reserves the right to revoke the attendance privileges of any offending individual or party;
  • Some participants may be put at risk back home if their identity or perspective is revealed. If you want to record or photograph someone, please ask for consent first.

Access Now’s Director of Human Resources, Nerida Brownlee will review and respond to any participant who is experiencing harassment or associated inappropriate behavior. Her role is to independently review matters with discretion and impartiality and to report to the Access Now management team on proposed courses of action.

Please email Access Now staff at[email protected]with any questions or concerns you may have throughout the duration of the event. Anonymous complaints can be reported to+1 (917) 445-5304.

This code of conduct applies equally to the RightsCon conference and to all RightsCon-sponsored events including side events and parties.