IGF 2018 WS #153
Help We Are Under Attack

Organizer 1: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 3: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 4: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 1: Marie Kummerlowe, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Hapee de Groot, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Ester Eriksson, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Gilberto Cutrupi, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Break-out Group Discussions - 60 Min


As a group, we will present an example case of a human rights organization under attack in an imaginary country. Each organization will narrate the section of the case to which their organization can respond, thereby also introducing the capacity of our organizations in the digital security eco-system. The details in this example case will give a concise idea of how each of our programs can help individuals and organizations facing digital emergencies. This should take approximately 10 minutes.

We will then move on to the interactive section of the session. Each organization will be present at a table, and participants will be able to speak directly to our organizations with further questions. We would propose having 4-5 rotations of 10 minutes each. Participants would thus have a chance to speak with most of our six organizations.


In terms of gender distribution of our speakers, we aim for a 50/50 split. The Digital Defenders Partnership, Media Legal Defence Initiative, and VirtualRoad.org will all be represented by women in the session.

In terms of geographic diversity, our organizations are active globally to support human rights defenders, and our presenters are also from different cultural/geographic backgrounds.

This interactive session is facilitated by a group of Rapid Responders that provide time critical support to at-risk organizations and individuals. A fictitious case will be presented in an interactive form to the audience, where the Rapid Responders will show how each and one of them would contribute to supporting the organization at risk.

We want the audience to leave the room with a better understanding of the possible facets of emergency support and which actors that currently are available to provide such support. We will provide a holistic view of the emergency response ecosystem (infrastructure, triage, psycho-social, legal, attribution etc.) .

Whether you are an activist, digital security trainer, company representative, funder, government representative, researcher or non-profit employee, this session would provide you with new resources for emergency response and our joint vision in this area.

Participant engagement would account for over 80% of our session time. We would start the session with a short, illustrative case of a human rights organization under attack. Each of the six organizations would go through the section of the case relevant to their expertise in helping human rights defenders. We would then move to a rotation style format. The six representatives would be available for questions on a rotating basis. Given time constraints, we would do 4-5 rotations. Participants would have the choice to go to which representative for each rotation and ask further questions.

A wide range of human rights particularly related to privacy and freedom of expression are increasingly challenged in the digital age. Online repression, surveillance, and censorship are continuously increasing and developing, while the communities most at risk (meaning, those activists whose work is particularly sensitive and monitored) are often not equipped with the tools or knowledge to defend themselves or mitigate the threats they face.

The session would be hosted by representatives from 6 organizations - the Digital Defenders Partnership, Front Line Defenders, Media Legal Defence Initiative, VirtualRoad.org, Access Now and Greenhost - that aim to help to human rights defenders facing (digital) emergency situations. Our organizations are firmly convinced that digital rights are human rights. We undertake our work from this perspective and therefore focus on human rights defenders and their rights, rather than simply on technology itself. We take a holistic approach to digital security. In order to effectively respond to Internet emergencies, all responses must encompass physical, legal, infrastructural and emotional safety.

Online Participation

We would encourage remote participation for the non-confidential section of the session. We would be able to broadcast the audio of the case online. For the discussion section, we would also ask for those interested to send in questions via our DDP Twitter. We would not, however, want to make this rotation section open to the public, as human rights defenders may be asking confidential questions or revealing confidential information.