Mar 2014 03 – 05


Mission Bay Conference Center, San Francisco, USA

RightsCon, organised by Access, will bring together human rights experts, investors, corporate leaders, engineers, activists, and government representatives from around the world, to advance solutions to human rights challenges by concentrating on the possibilities within the technology sector. Anja Kovacs is speaking on two panels on Internet governance at the event: one on ‘Internet governance 101: what’s at stake in 2014?’ and one titled ‘Sao Paulo and beyond: the future of global Internet governance’.

Located in Silicon Valley, the heart of technological innovation and providing an unparalleled learning, networking, and agenda-setting experience, RightsCon will:

  • Create a space for open business-to-business dialogue on best practices and strategies. It will foster information sharing on legal and compliance issues, create opportunities for establishing effective coalitions, and highlight the emerging thinking in this complex and fast-moving space.
  • Develop a common language around emerging issues on a range of topics including security, digital due process, and internet governance. A shared understanding will enable actors from business, civil society, and government to have a clearer understanding of others’ positions, and in doing so, move the conversation towards implementation, alliances, and application.
  • Bring companies face-to-face with frontline actors to facilitate conversations between corporate representatives (including engineers) and some of their users. These conversations help ensure that products and services are more resilient when used by at-risk users, who are often not the primary demographic for which they have been designed.
  • Provide companies with principled guidance on implementing human rights in policy and practice. Rather than talking about or around issues, the RightsCon approach focuses conversations on what companies are actually being asked to do, and how they can limit liability and maximize rights-respecting use of their technologies.
  • Highlight emerging threats, opportunities, and new thinking, allowing participants to learn more about advances in the quickly changing discourse around human rights and technology, consider new perspectives on thorny issues, and have the information they need to better prepare for and mitigate upcoming challenges.
  • Build strategies and partnerships across stakeholder groups, providing an opportunity to discuss the future of the space within a group of participants with a relatively high level of assumed knowledge, allowing for the creation of strategic coalitions on identified issues. We will further link communities in a format that promotes collaboration and coalition-building within and across stakeholder groups.

Anja Kovacs will be speaking on the following panels at RightsCon (all panels will be livestreamed):

Day 1, 3 March — 3.30 pm‑4.45 pm SF time: INTERNET GOVERNANCE 101: WHAT’S AT STAKE IN 2014?

Moderator: Chris Mondini, Vice President, Stakeholder Engagement, ICANN


  • Bertrand De La Chapelle, Director, Internet & Jurisdiction Project

  • Anja Kovacs, Director, Internet Democracy Project

  • Nnenna Nwakanma, Regional Coordinator, The World Wide Web Foundation

  • Ronaldo Lemos, Director, Rio Institute for Technology & Society

  • Chris Riley, Senior Policy Engineer, Mozilla

Description: 2014 is shaping up to be an important year in Internet Governance. Not only is the question of who runs the Internet becoming headline news, but the diplomatic calendar is full of occasions for governments to demand more control. Add to this mix next month’s Multistakeholder Meeting in Brazil, plus a number of high level panels seeking a new, middle path and you have a recipe for either a new paradigm for global cooperation — or a politically fragmented Internet. We’ll hear from a range of people steeped in the internet governance debate and explain what’s up for grabs, who is to be impacted, what are the current models being proposed — and most importantly why this matters to Silicon Valley.


Moderator: Deborah Brown, Senior Policy Analyst, Access


  • Joana Varon, Internet Governance and Human Rights Researcher, Center for Technology and Society (CTS/FGV)

  • Anja Kovacs, Director, Internet Democracy Project

  • Johan Hallenborg, Deputy Director Human Rights Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sweden

  • Ben Wagner, Research Fellow, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

  • Patrick Ryan, Public Policy & Government Relations Senior Counsel for Free Expression and International Relations, Google

Description: This session will bring together a mix of experts involved in global internet governance policy spaces to help bring greater clarity around Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance (Net Mundial) and where internet governance will go after it. This dynamic panel will aim to clarify misconceptions about the event, what’s at stake, and what internet governance might look like in the next 20 years. It will bring together academics, advocates, government, and the private sector for a dynamic conversation with the broader digital rights community.