Frequently Asked Questions
What is RightsCon?
RightsCon is the world’s leading event on human rights in the digital age, brought to you by Access Now. Every year, we convene business leaders, policymakers, activists, journalists, academics, and technologists to tackle critical issues at the intersection of human rights and digital technology. Over the course of three days, thousands of diverse stakeholders come together to share knowledge, build partnerships, and drive change across sectors and industries in order to create a more free, open, and connected world.
Originally called the Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference, RightsCon traditionally rotated between San Francisco and another global city. Now, RightsCon is an annual event that changes location each year. From Manila to Brussels to Rio de Janeiro to Tunis, our selected host cities are regional power centers for technology and human rights. In 2020, RightsCon will be held in San José, Costa Rica.
Who hosts RightsCon?
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 direct technical support, comprehensive policy engagement, global advocacy, grassroots grantmaking, high-quality legal action, and community-centered convening, we fight for human rights in the digital age.
We are a team of 80, with local staff in more than 10 locations around the world: Berlin, Brussels, Córdoba, Delhi, London, Manila, New York, San José, Tunis, and Washington DC. We maintain five legally incorporated entities – Belgium, Costa Rica, Germany, Tunisia, and the United States – with our Helpline, Advocacy, Policy, Grants, Legal, RightsCon, and Operations teams distributed across all regions. Our Costa Rica office opened in 2014.
Who comes to RightsCon?
RightsCon participants are a broad, diverse community of civil society activists, industry leaders, government representatives, technologists, journalists, academics, and creatives. You can learn about the individuals, companies, and organizations who support and participate in RightsCon here.
What issues does RightsCon cover?
Since our first convening in 2011, the RightsCon program has expanded and transformed dramatically to reflect the breadth and depth of technology’s impact on society and our human rights. Here are some of the issues that we’ll be covering at RightsCon Costa Rica:
- Alternative Models for Business and Labor
- Artificial intelligence, Automation, and the Algorithm
- Content Control and Censorship
- Cybersecurity Norms and Practice
- Data Governance, Protection, and Consent
- Democracy, Elections, and Political Participation
- Digital Inclusion and Diversity
- Environmental Sustainability and Human Resilience
- Freedom of the Media
- Futures, Fictions, and Creativity
- Global Governance, Justice, and Jurisdiction
- Network Connectivity and Internet Shutdowns
- Peace, Stabilization, and Conflict Prevention
- Philanthropy, Wellness, and Operational Development
- Privacy, Surveillance, and Individual Security
- Public Interest Tech and Human Rights-Centered Design
- The Global State of Civil Society
- Trade, Commerce, and the Digital Commons
Where and when will RightsCon 2020 be held?
In 2020, RightsCon will be held in San José, Costa Rica from June 9 to June 12. RightsCon Costa Rica will be our first summit based in Central America, and our second in Latin America, after RightsCon Rio in 2012. The venue for the conference is the Costa Rica Convention Center, a bioclimatic, eco-friendly, and sustainably-designed space located just outside the city center.
Subscribe to the RightsCon Rundown for updates about the program, community, speakers, tickets, logistics, and more!
How are proposals reviewed and evaluated?
Each year, Access Now and the RightsCon team work with leading experts who form our Program Committee.
Once the Call for Proposals period ends in January 2020, the Program Committee will review and evaluate proposals session based on specific criteria. Co-Chairs will look for proposals that are relevant, actionable, original, and diverse.
After the Program Committee review, the RightsCon team will conduct a final, holistic review of all session proposals in order to curate a strategic, high-quality program. We will notify you in March 2020 if your session has been accepted, rejected, or merged with another, similar proposal.
Note that the program categories listed will not necessarily translate into the final program tracks. Learn more about our evaluation criteria and process in our Guide to a Successful Proposal.
Can I volunteer at RightsCon?
Yes! We rely on the support of volunteers to make sure RightsCon is a success every year. Volunteers receive complimentary access to RightsCon in exchange for their work. Submit your application through our Program Platform.
Can my organization or company sponsor RightsCon?
Absolutely! Visit the Sponsors page on our website to download our sponsorship information pack, read our funding policy, and contact us about becoming a sponsor.
Where can I buy a ticket for RightsCon?
We can’t wait to see you at RightsCon Costa Rica! You can purchase an Early Bird ticket from now until March 17, 2020. Visit our Attend page to learn more about ticketing, registration, travel, and accommodations.
Do you have a ticket discount policy?
Yes, we do! Access Now is committed to making RightsCon accessible and open to all, and we take steps to reduce or waive ticket costs for speakers and participants who face financial barriers.
We firmly believe the price of a ticket should never prohibit participation in RightsCon. That’s our official policy, and it applies regardless of where you’re located.
If your session is accepted as part of the RightsCon Costa Rica program, or if you are associated as a speaker in a session, you will receive a menu of discount codes to use for your registration. Due to the nature of the summit, in which a high proportion of the people who attend will also take part in official programming, we ask that speakers with the means to do so pay for all or a portion of their tickets.
If you aren’t part of the program, but you’re interested in attending and you can afford the registration fees, please request a ticket discount using the request form on our website, and we will respond shortly.
Do you offer group rates for ticket sales?
Yes. If you are coordinating the registration for a group of 10 or more, contact us at [email protected] for information on special rates.
Do I need a visa to travel to Costa Rica?
Please review these guidelines to help you determine if you require a visa. If you require a visa, we are happy to provide you with an invitation letter. You can request a letter through the Program Platform.
Is there a press pass for RightsCon?
Yes! Every year we provide press passes for journalists and members of the media around the world to attend and cover RightsCon. If you’re interested in attending RightsCon Costa Rica as press, you can submit a press pass request.
Do you provide travel support funding?
Every year we fund and support travel for a small number of participants. We do our best to reserve this support for participants who face financial and other barriers to travel, and particularly participants from the Global South and representatives from communities at risk.
You can submit an application through our Program Platform. If you would like to partner with us to fund the RightsCon travel support process, reach out to us at [email protected].
Will there be translation available at the conference?
Unfortunately, we can only provide translation services for our Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and other plenary-style sessions. If you are a session organizer and require translation services for your session, you will need to secure those services from an external provider.
Does RightsCon have a Code of Conduct?
We do. You can read the RightsCon Code of Conduct to understand the expectations for behavior and interaction in the summit space.
Access Now is dedicated to creating and protecting safe spaces for people, online and off. Participants and stakeholders of the Access Now community are expected to understand and abide by this Code of Conduct.
How does RightsCon deal with accessibility?
In securing our venue, we work to ensure it is physically accessible to all participants. We are also working hard to ensure all aspects of the event – from venue, to programming, to participation – incorporate an accessibility lens. We welcome feedback and contributions at [email protected].
How can I contact the RightsCon team?
You can send us an email at [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as possible!