IGF 2018 WS #348
Citizens' data and (in)security of government servers

Organizer 1: Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Speaker 1: Nighat Dad, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Malavika Jayaram, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Nicolas Seidler, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Alexandrine Pirlot de Corbion, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Joseph Cannataci, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Panel - 60 Min


The panel will bring together a diverse set of individuals, including lawyers, activists, advocates, from global south and north working towards right to privacy in digital age to discuss how government surveillance affect people’s right to privacy and what can and should be done to ensure the said right.


Digital Rights Foundation strives to highlight diversity in all its work. For these panels, we intend to bring experts and representative from communities that deserve to be heard. Our sessions focus on the issues of people of colour, and most of our work explores the gendered implications of technology. Our sessions at IGF will also be reflective of the principles of diversity that DRF stands for.

There has been a concerted effort by governments to consolidate data all around the world. In the South Asian context, for instance, this has taken the form of databases such as the Adhaar or the NADRA database. Worldwide a similar problem persist--the centralising, consolidation and mass collection of private citizen data in the form of national identification cards, welfare systems, smart city projects and other e-government initiatives. This data is held digitally, and often exists within both post and pre digital state machinery.

The government’s logic for these projects is often greater efficiency, convenience and at times national security. However, the experience has been often quite the opposite, raising concerns regarding data security, rights of citizens over data, transparency and accountability. In several countries, where governments hold huge amounts of data on its citizens, there are little or no data protection laws in place. These systems are often tools of governance, control, surveillance and, in some cases, discrimination.

This panel aims to bring together practitioners and activists from across the world to discuss the systems of data collection in their respective countries and the digital rights issues that inhere in such situations.

The discussion will be open by the onsite moderator with the introduction of panelists, moving on to asking questions and facilitating discussion, all the while taking questions from the audience - both online and onsite - during the interventions to promote participant engagement throughout the session.

This workshop deals with issues of digital rights and data protection specifically contextualized within the region and the particular systems that are in place. Given the developments around Aadhaar in India, rating systems in China and biometric national databases in Pakistan--the region is experiencing a fundamental shift in terms of how our data is collected, stored and processed. The session will look into how the monopoly that governments holds in collecting citizens’ database becomes a tool of surveillance on them ultimately exploiting their right to privacy.

Online Participation

To accommodate online participation, the onsite moderator will be taking questions from the remote attendees, directed to them by the online moderator. These questions and comments will be collected throughout the session, and will be shared with the room as and when feasible.