Where you can find Mozillians at RightsCon 2021

Amy Schapiro Raikar

By Amy Schapiro Raikar | June 3, 2021

RightsCon

Mozilla is proud to partner with Access Now to sponsor RightsCon again this year. The second year of a 100% virtual RightsCon is also the 10th anniversary of the conference, happening June 7-11, 2021. In addition to the conference support, there are many Mozillians who are taking part in facilitating sessions during the event. If you are interested in checking out sessions from Mozilla Fellows and staff, you can find out more about their sessions below:

Monday, June 7

The AI observatory: interrogating automated decision-making in India featuring former Mozilla Fellow Divij Joshi

Public agencies are increasingly relying on algorithmic tools and automated decision-making systems to make consequential decisions ranging from policing to public welfare. The use of these technologies, particularly in the global south, pose significant challenges to important human values of transparency, accountability and democratic participation.In this talk, I will examine the alarming rise in the use of automated decision-making systems by public agencies in India. I will speak about the political economy which produces particular forms of technological adoption by the government, and what it implies for human rights. Finally, I will examine how principles and values embodied within the Constitution of India can inform the design and regulation of these technologies.

Tuesday, June 8

Supporting a safer internet: global survey of gender-based violence online featuring Mozilla Foundation Africa Mradi Consultant and former Fellow Chenai Chair

This community lab will bring together global leaders on the topic of online gender-based violence (OGBV) to discuss current research on the topic and to strategize around solutions to this issue. This group of experts will reflect on the work they are conducting on this topic within their respective organizations, as well as through an initiative on which they are collectively collaborating with the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the International Development Research Centre: “Supporting a Safer Internet: Global Survey of Gender Based Violence Online”.

Misgendering machines: the digital rights risks of automated gender recognition technology featuring former Mozilla Fellow Daniel Leufer

Computer says ‘female’. Computer says ‘male’. Or computer says ‘unknown’, or ‘unclear but 63% chances of (X)’, or maybe just ‘error’. Or ‘no’.Machines are increasingly being asked to classify individuals on the basis of their presumed gender. Daily online activities are interpreted as signs of belonging to a gender category, often without data subjects knowing about this at all, and relying on opaque grounds that can hide extremely problematic gender stereotyping. Major tech companies base crucial decisions on inferences about gender, with a direct impact on who sees which online content. Bodies are being read, compared and sorted out while people walk around in public. automated gender 'recognition '– more correctly called automated gender attribution – is increasingly ubiquitous. This panel will ask: How extensive and insidious is Automated Gender Attribution today? How does it affect individual rights and freedoms, including those of trans and gender non-confirming individuals? Can privacy and data protection laws offer meaningful protection, and how? What must the legislator do, notably in the context of AI regulation?

Wednesday, June 9

Unpacking the impact of AI algorithms on social fragmentation featuring Mozilla Senior Manager of Advocacy Brandi Geurkink and former Fellow Guillaume Chaslot

In today's world digital rights have become an inseparable part of human rights. As the internet penetrates the farthest reaches of the world, so do internet governance technologies that threaten freedom of expression and individual privacy. From propaganda-circulating bots to biased algorithms designed to maximise platform usage, public opinion is constantly manipulated by Al. As a result, users are lost in online echo chambers, encountering information that reflects and reinforces their own opinion. Without access to alternative realities, users end up in a filter bubble - a state of intellectual isolation. RNW Media and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs are unpacking the impact of internet governance technologies on human rights. The Dutch Human Rights Ambassador, Bahia Tahzib-Lie, will host experts and activists in the field of digital rights, media and technology for good to discuss disinformation, online censorships, digital gender gaps and digital inclusion. And former YouTube Engineer and Founder of AlgoTransparency, Guillaume Chaslot will join us to tell the story of how it all began.

Decolonizing AI: centering Black innovation in the Global South featuring Mozilla Fellow Tarcizio Silva

The Westernized imaginary of innovation imposed on countries in the Global South has undermined locally produced solutions and knowledge and furthered the neo-colonial models widening the inequality and power gap between the North and the South. Rather than centering the debate on the need for AI developed in rich countries to be comprehensively adapted to new settings in countries of the Global South in a top-down approach, there is a growing need for a shift in our understanding of this concept by including the types of knowledge and interests of young Black people in Africa and Latin America. Redefining what innovation is, and what it should do, would allow us to examine the insights, possibilities and impact beyond Western imaginaries on AI and create new decolonized spaces for progress and inclusivity.This session will incorporate expertise from regions and communities often overlooked, as well as indices that capture these groups, into the growing debates on AI and accountability. Our goal is to engage in a conversation to discuss priorities and share best-practices on how best to collect data relating to the access, use, impact, and benefits gained from new frontier technologies and how they are being developed to answer long standing issues of inequality and racial injustice. This lab will consist of two parts: the first, a commentary and discussion provided by the facilitators, and the second, inviting lab participants to share their insights in break-out groups.

Org.: Carolina Rossini, Portulans Institute; Niousha Roshani, Co-Founder, Global Black Youth

Facilitators: Nyeleti Honwana Co-Founder, Global Black Youth; Phillip Ellison, Manhattan Borough Advocate and Liaison to the Technology, Data, & Development Team, Office of the New York City Public Advocate; Tarcizio Silva, Tech + Society Fellow, Mozilla Foundation; Darlington Akogo, Founder, MinoHealth AI Labs

Design best practices: creating standards that center security and marginalized voices featuring former Mozilla Fellow Caroline Sinders

While best practices and standards for human rights centered concepts are emerging in the computer science and tool building spaces, very few have been created for the Research and Design fields. We are working to fill this gap by creating emergent guidelines for researchers and designers who are building for at-risk communities. We are working with front-line defenders to build on the contemporary global movement to bring design and technology into human rights-focused conversations. How can we best ensure products and services are adaptive to the needs of a community’s privacy and safety? The Secure UX curricula and checklist provide a framework for building platforms, tools, and direct resources for vulnerable communities and problem-solving for a variety of needs, from landscape audits, research, all the way to building, designing and launching. To engage our participants, we will pose a number of questions in break-out sessions and incorporate it into the project. We will be learning from the diverse attendees at RightsCon to refine and improve the curriculum, scheduled to launch in Fall, 2021. This collaborative session will be focused on our best practices security and privacy design and research methodology. Our easy-to-follow secure UX curricula and checklist help streamline the process of user research, guide and promote human-rights centered design, and aid tool-builders, platforms, and services to be more responsive to the communities they serve. There has been increased interest in our project since its inception at RightsCon 2017, so we aim to infuse oxygen and build on that momentum.Host institution: IndependentSeeking funding? YesPlease note: In order to ensure a more interactive, hands-on discussion, there is a cap of 25 participants on this strategy session, which will be filled on a first-come, first served basis. The link to join the waiting room for the session will be made available 5 minutes before the start time, and you will be notified by the technical moderator if you have been admitted. If all the seats are filled, no worries! There are plenty of other sessions and spaces in program for you to explore.

Thursday, June 10

"Gender-Based Violence in Our NGOs and Advocacy Spaces: Stop the Gaslighting, Let's Act!" featuring Fellow Alexandra Argüelles

Online Gender-Based Violence has become a core issue for many digital rights NGOs. However, most of these NGOs are still reluctant to acknowledge the Gender-Based Violence they've allowed to remain forgotten or even exerted towards the victims who have risen their voices at the cost of being gaslighted, silenced, or even harassed to drop the issues that affect us as a community fighting to defend human rights and dignity. All of this comes at the cost of our peers' (and "the human rights defense community's") health and well-being, due to the lack of accountability practices, community commitments, or even transformative justice strategies. If we aren't able to ensure we're building an environment in which even our peers can be safe to speak freely -especially when it is about raising awareness on the violence they're struggling with or asking for help- this diminishes the trust in the NGOs and leaders that are part of our community. Beyond this, the lack of active empathy and the "bystander silence" surrounding these cases has a deeply negative effect on how victims or survivors can recover and resignify these experiences: to heal, grow, and even remain part of the NGOs/environments in which the violence took place. So, what are we going to do about this?

Fireside chat: Vijaya Gadde and Berhan Taye

Friday, June 11

Governance frameworks to minimise the environmental footprint of the digital transition featuring Mozilla Senior Program Officer Michelle Thorne

The tech sector has increased our energy consumption. To address the environmental impact of the ICT sector, the European Union must accelerate innovation and digitalization in a way compatible with our CO2 reduction goals, climate neutrality aims, and high environmental standards. The strategy session will help shape the debate on the environmental impacts of digital technologies and infrastructure and gather feedback on : the current obstacles faced by the tech industry to deploy well-suited solutions,how technologies can be deployed to benefit society, advance research, and accelerate our climate transition without its impact hampering our environmental goals,which regulatory framework we need to ensure both a digital and a green age.

Whose data is it anyway? Challenges and opportunities for gender inclusive digital rights in Africa featuring Mozilla Foundation Africa Mradi Consultant and former Fellow Chenai Chair

Africa is the testing ground for numerous technologies that are produced elsewhere, meaning that personal data of many Africans are stored in various databases. As of 2020, 24 of the 53 African countries adopted laws and regulations to protect personal data, but even these countries still face challenges in implementation and effectiveness. This is happening in the context of an ongoing conversation of using ICTs for development, or the 4thIR. Issues such as privacy and data protection are central to data justice and digital rights, yet these issues are rarely discussed in a gender inclusive manner.This session aims to create an understanding of data justice on the African continent, understanding that while it is a vast continent there are numerous contextual factors that make data justice that is gender sensitive challenging. The panel will begin with an exploration of the current general data landscape on the African continent. Panelists will then discuss the harms emerging from how data is currently used and collected in society and how that can target specific groups. They will also consider the opportunities available, especially for CSOs as they make use of data based systems. This panel will be useful for academics, civil society organisations, and practitioners who want to gain an understanding of the challenges and opportunities in policy work that is responsive to gender sensitivities and gender issues on the continent. In addition it will highlight ways for a data justice approach that is gender inclusive.

Workers of the world unite: collective bargaining and data rights featuring Mozilla Fellow in Residence, Data Futures Lab Anouk Ruhaak

We aim to engage participants in thinking about the value of collective bargaining on data rights for data workers and together device ways and methods for how collective action in this area might be achieved. In the first part, we will use “situation cards” to describe scenarios where data rights for workers are highlighted, and ask the participants to problem solve through discussion. Thereafter, we will present possible models of data stewardship that can help workers in the discussed scenarios, and ask participants to brainstorm the most applicable solutions to the suggested scenario. For this section, we will also bring in illustrations of? real world data cooperatives, working on platform worker rights (e.g. Driver’s Seat, WeClock, Worker Info Exchange), to demonstrate how collectivisation on data rights can be done and the mechanisms for organising workers, gathering consent and most importantly, explaining the value of data collectives. Finally, we will have a free flowing discussion on the challenges to implementation drawing from existing models but also from more theoretical ideas about questions on data value communication to stakeholders. In this segment, we will also touch upon the ethical questions on monetisation of data, an incentive mechanism oft-used to bring platform workers together.

While we know there are hundreds of fascinating and inspiring RightsCon sessions to choose from this year, we hope you decide to spend some time each day to engage with the people from the Mozilla community who are leading discussions on the pressing threats to internet health in the field.