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Last updated: Version 2.3 (Updated May 15, 2018).

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Wednesday, May 16 • 10:30 - 11:45
Is the Internet Freedom Strategy Dead?

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Over the last 8 years, the United States, Europe, Canada and others have been big proponents of the idea that more internet access would promote human rights. For example, the United States spent more than $125 million on internet freedom programs during the Obama administration, funding activities such as training digital activists in hostile environments and developing circumvention tools to bypass state-sponsored internet filters. These countries also worked with non-government stakeholders to establish policy initiatives, such as the Freedom Online Coalition, to advocate that people have the same human rights online as they have offline.

However according to an annual Freedom House report, internet freedom continues to decline. China is tightening its grip on the flow of online information through its new cybersecurity law. In the United States, the Trump administration has demonstrated little interest in expanding the Obama administration’s internet freedom programming given its general ambivalence in promoting human rights writ large. Social media platforms—tools that can enable the exercise of human rights such as the freedom of assembly—are increasingly being used as vehicles for state-sponsored information warfare.

This panel will consider the state of the internet freedom strategy. What is working, and what is not? Where should campaigners focus their policy-related activism?

avatar for Adam Segal

Adam Segal

Director, Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations

avatar for Sanja Kelly

Sanja Kelly

Director, Freedom on the Net, Freedom House
Freedom House
avatar for Jason Pielemeier

Jason Pielemeier

Policy Director, Global Network Initiative
avatar for Nani Jansen Reventlow

Nani Jansen Reventlow

Director, Digital Freedom Fund
Nani Jansen Reventlow is the founding Director of the Digital Freedom Fund, which supports partners in Europe to advance digital rights through strategic litigation. Nani is also an Associate Tenant at Doughty Street Chambers and an Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet... Read More →

Wednesday May 16, 2018 10:30 - 11:45 EDT