The RightsCon program is the guiding pillar of our Summit Series. Hosting a session is one of the best ways to tap into our network of experts, find solutions to tough problems, form unexpected partnerships, and situate your work within the many movements that converge at RightsCon.

The program categories shaping the RightsCon 2021 agenda

The RightsCon program is divided into tracks to help participants navigate the many issue areas our community works on. The categories below will inform the creation of our final program tracks.

Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Algorithm
Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Algorithm

This category centers on the impacts of the use of AI and automated decision-making systems on our human rights. We especially welcome proposals that examine governance, regulation, and accountability through the lens of localized, community-based, and/or intersectional frameworks.

Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Algorithm
Civil Society Resistance and Resilience

This category explores the current state of civil society around the world – connecting and mapping issues related to campaigning and activism in closing spaces, self-care and trauma response, international solidarity efforts, online community-building, and more.

Content Control and Censorship

This category delves into principles and practices to uphold freedom of expression and opinion online, while balancing the need to combat harmful or misleading information. It will cover content moderation, oversight models, platform accountability, and fact-checking efforts, in addition to tactics to censor or close off information, such as filtering or splinternets.

Cyber Norms, Accountability, and Practice

This category centers on guiding principles and multilateral actions to bolster cybersecurity approaches at national, regional, and global levels. It will discuss encryption, governmental responses to cyber attacks, international cooperation, privacy infringements under the guise of state security, and more.

Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Algorithm
Data Protection and User Control

This category focuses on the collection, storage, management, governance, and usage of data. Proposals may explore laws, policies, initiatives, and regulations around the world to prioritize users’ rights and protect our personal information online, among other topics.

Democracy, Elections, and Political Participation

This category examines paths to strengthen democracies in the digital age and covers a range of issues, including election security and integrity, political microtargeting, e-governance, technology’s impact on civic engagement, civil or pro-democratic protests, and collective public actions.

Digital Security for Individuals and Communities

This category considers current and emerging digital security practices, in response to rising online threats to individuals, organizations, and communities. Proposals may discuss resources to bolster privacy on social media, training for activists, journalists, and other at-risk groups, tools to secure technical infrastructure, and more.

Freedom of the Media

This category looks at the future of journalism, and the role of technology in newsrooms and on-the-ground investigations. Proposals may address topics such as secure communications with sources and whistleblowers, reporting on disinformation, tracking online violence and attacks on the press, and alternative business models for the media industry.

Futures, Fictions, and Creativity

This category focuses on the power of imagination and creativity to build momentum for human rights, and envision a positive digital future. Proposals may use art, fiction, storytelling, or other inventive approaches to chart a course for a more just and sustainable world.

Human Rights-Centered Design

This category fosters discussion on technology design, tool development, and user education and experience. It also covers openness and accessibility, community-driven innovation, co-design processes, and user research that supports and prioritizes human rights principles.

Internet Access, Education, and Inclusion

This category will examine the urgent and multifaceted challenges to connecting the unconnected, and ensuring access to affordable, open, and reliable internet. It will also discuss efforts to localize, contextualize, and decolonize online spaces, increase digital literacy, and overcome infrastructural and technical barriers to access.

Internet Shutdowns and Network Disruptions

This category explores the profound consequences of internet shutdowns, throttling, and other forms of network disruption on people’s lives and livelihoods. Proposals may discuss practices to measure and document the impact of shutdowns, apps that function in limited or no connectivity environments, tactics to prepare for politically-timed disruptions, and more.

Justice, Documentation, and Investigation

This category addresses questions of law, justice, and jurisdiction within and beyond digital spaces. Open source investigation, data collection, litigation strategies and court action, and methods of online documentation and record-keeping to expose human rights abuses are some of the topics shaping this category.

New Models for Business and Labor

This category delves into the future of work, and the role of companies, start-ups, and providers to protect their users and workers. It will encompass industry regulation and antitrust action, labor rights in the platform economy, and accountability measures, such as transparency reporting, oversight mechanisms, and impact assessments.

Next Frontier Technologies

This category looks to the future and speculates on leading-edge – or bleeding-edge – technology with the potential to disrupt our social, political, and economic systems. Proposals may explore AR/VR, wearable devices, genetic manipulation, cloning, artificial consciousness, deep space exploration, and much more.

Online Hate and Violent Extremism

This category unpacks the nature of threats perpetuated or coordinated online, and the potential for these threats to translate to offline violence. Proposals may consider the impact of hate and harassment, responses from platforms and governments, and efforts to protect targeted groups.

Organizational Growth, Impact, and Resources

This category focuses on the factors that enable activists, donors, organizations, and movements to operate effectively, especially in closing civic spaces. These factors include diverse leadership, strategic foresight, robust security practices, and flexible financial support, among others.

Peacebuilding and Digital Humanitarianism

This category situates technology within the fields of conflict prevention, disaster response, and peacebuilding in unstable and transitional contexts. It may touch on data management and digital identity programs in the humanitarian sector, autonomous weapons and drone warfare, online mediation strategies, and more.

Privacy and Surveillance

This category takes a multifaceted view of the right to privacy in the digital age. Emerging technologies such as facial recognition, digital ID, biometrics, and location trackers feed into an expanding surveillance architecture, and sessions may cover regulation, litigation, campaigning, community education, or other viable tactics to counter these threats.

Trade, Innovation, and Intellectual Property

This category considers the digital transformation of trade, including e-commerce and sale of online services, smart manufacturing, cross-border data flows, and much more. It also touches on protection of digital intellectual property and ownership rights for creators, authors, composers, artists, designers, and other innovators.

Revisit RightsCon Online

Need some inspiration? Catch up on a selection of RightsCon Online programming from 2020 below or explore the full playlist on our YouTube Channel!



Did you join us for RightsCon Online 2020? You can login and revisit the platform at any time.