Online Information Controls and Circumvention for Civil Society Groups

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Session Description

Users now have access to a variety of circumvention tools to bypass Internet censorship. As these tools are becoming more popular, circumvention developers face challenges of scalability and funding to support the growing number of users and pay for bandwidth in addition to other operational costs. At the same time, civil society and outreach groups face challenges in providing better user support and reach the next frontier of Internet users who need these tools to access information. We’re interested in creating a session that brings together the various members around the intersection between developers and end users (civil society groups and individuals) to discuss future solutions, including circumvention for mobile, current mediums of outreach and user support. The idea would be to bring together a group of people who experience similar issues of information control, such as members from the Arab, Tibetan, and Chinese communities. We would like to discuss what has failed, what has worked in the past, and innovative solutions for user outreach and providing continuous support despite efforts to crack down on access to information by censors and authorities. In order to do this, we would invite a number of tool developers in a session that discusses their key challenges, process of engaging and supporting local communities/citizens, and how these have evolved in the past year. Some of the challenges that tool developers are encountering range from tool localization and local user support to responding to ‘just-in-time’ information controls to understanding how best to cater to a community’s specific needs. The session will also feature civil society groups who have engaged with tool developers and supported their work.

Online Information Controls and Circumvention for Civil Society Groups
Presenter/s Fereidoon
Bio/s ASL19 is an interdisciplinary technology and research lab building solutions for access to information challenges such as censorship. Our projects have expanded to include web and mobile applications to enable easy access to information that was previously diffuse, difficult to obtain or unavailable.
Language English

Session Comments