Human Rights | Technology | Security
The Digital Security Conference is a premium convening for stakeholders from technological, business and civic arenas to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the promotion and advancement of human rights in a digital era.
Contrary to the previous editions of the digital security conference, this year’s edition will be a hybrid with both online and physical locations. The programing for this year’s conference will deepen conversations on longstanding issues affecting access to the internet and information, freedom of expression and association, privacy, data protection, digital rights and inclusion. This year the conference is set to attract over 300 participants.
The aim of the conference is to bring together different sector perspectives (e.g. education and social development, human rights, legal, health, ICT, finance, justice, law & order) to highlight the challenges, drivers and consequences of inequality in the age of digitalisation. In this context, we strive to identify viable solutions to ensure the creation of a self-determined society.
Digitalisation has transformed the society we live in today: It has changed the way we communicate, learn, work, and live. Digital technologies provide access to information anytime and anywhere and promise to empower users around the world by delivering more and easier opportunities for transparency and social participation. Despite this potential, modern societies are increasingly witnessing a gaping chasm of inequality as social actors experience differential results of ubiquitous digitalisation around the world. Understanding and finding ways to solve this paradox is a primary motivation for the digital security Conference 2021.
DECODING FOUNDATIONAL INEQUALITIES IN A DIGITAL ERA
Empowering civil society to challenge systemic exclusion
This year we see an opportunity to increase alignment, build strategic connections and strengthen the connective tissue between civil society, government and the private sector to bridge the gaps and underpin inequality
2020 marked the 25th anniversary of the “digital divide.” Although a quarter century has passed, legacy digital inequalities continue, and emergent digital inequalities are proliferating. Many of the initial schisms identified in 1995 are still relevant today.
Many legacy digital inequalities are now being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic in new ways (Robinson, et al., 2020). In particular, digital inequalities related to healthcare, education, economic disadvantage are even more pronounced. While difficult for all, the digitally under-resourced are at greater risk and bear greater burdens than those who can mitigate the effects of the pandemic with digital resources. This is a fundamental shift from categorical and institutional inequalities to radically different inequalities that could not exist in the absence of the Internet.
This conference will provide a forum that will interrogate the dynamics and develop mechanisms to unearth the existing legacy and emergent forms of inequality that radically diminish individuals’ agency and augment the power of technology creators, big tech, and other already powerful social actors in order to underpin exclusion in this digital era
Specifically, the conference objectives will pivot around the following thematic priorities;
The plenary session will be an exploratory discussion from subject matter experts, civil society leaders, business leaders, policy makers and strategic stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities in decoding foundational inequalities to underpin systemic exclusion. The discussion will cover the following topics;
1. Infrastructure Projects that Include Affordability, Digital Literacy, and Public
2. Digital Literacy training strategies and models
3. Social equity and digital inclusion.
4. Digital equity strategies.
5. Implications of Gender and Sexuality on online activity
6. Digital Inclusion for persons with disabilities
7. E-governance and representation
Parallel working forums will enable direct interactions among participants. The main aim of the debate is to identify common challenges and major barriers, share examples of interesting practice and develop practical solutions in planning and setting up new as well as managing and evaluating existing mechanisms to underpin identifies inequalities. Within each workshop, there will be an opportunity to explore technical assistance needs in overcoming the challenges and barriers, linked to the particular theme of each session;
This session will offer a facilitated debate and
reflections on the key messages emerging from the conference.
 Robinson, L., Schulz, J., Dunn, H. S., Casilli, A. A., Tubaro, P., Carvath, R., Chen, W., Wiest, J. B., Dodel, M., Stern, M. J., Ball, C., Huang, K.-T., Blank, G., Ragnedda, M., Ono, H., Hogan, B., Mesch, G. S., Cotten, S. R., Kretchmer, S. B., Hale, T. M., Drabowicz, T., Yan, P., Wellman, B., Harper, M.-G., Quan-Haase, A., & Khilnani, A. (2020). Digital inequalities 3.0: Emergent inequalities in the information age. First Monday, 25(7). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i7.10844