Join SAFEnet at RightsCon 2023

At SAFEnet, we strive to create a digital space that upholds human rights values for all. We are working to change policies. We fight for justice. We hold states and corporations to account. We set the agenda for the future of human rights and technology.

Every year RightsCon brings together activists, business leaders, policy makers, technologists and journalists from around the world to take action on digital rights.

This time RightsCon 2023 held in San Jose, Costa Rica (June 5-8, 2023). Officially, Rightscon 2023 starts today with the Opening Ceremony at 16:00 Costa Rica time or the equivalent of 05.00 WIB on Tuesday, June 6 2023.

Just like in previous years, SAFEnet will be involved in RightsCon 2023. Although no one came directly to Costa Rica, SAFEnet is involved in at least 4 of the following activities:

1. Panel Discussion

June 6, 2023 | 5:45 – 6:45pm WIB

“Digital repression and resilience across Southeast Asia”

Across Southeast Asia, online expression and privacy are under attack. Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net 2022 report documented how governments have expanded criminal penalties for online speech, deployed new surveillance tools, and tightened regulation over technology platforms. Despite these restrictions, activists have achieved some successes for human rights online in Southeast Asia through a variety of tactics. In this session, panelists from Southeast Asian civil society – who are activists and advocates based in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand – will share the latest developments related to digital repression and identify emerging threats in censorship and surveillance.

The panelists will also share where they see opportunities to better protect human rights online, support human rights defenders, and fight digital repression in their countries. Namely, they will discuss and share the successes of the ASEAN Regional Coalition to #StopDigitalDictatorship, which seeks to bring together ASEAN community leaders working for digital rights on the ground. (Panel co-host Manushya Foundation launched the coalition in 2020 following an online session at RightsCon 2020; several panelists are members.) Lessons learned from the coalition can be applied in Southeast Asia and other global contexts.

The facilitator, a Freedom House expert and co-author of Freedom on the Net 2022, will guide the conversation by drawing from the report’s research on global trends in internet freedom. By bridging country-focused, regional, and global analysis, the session will provide a diversity of perspectives on threats to and opportunities for digital rights across Southeast Asia.

Host institution: Freedom House | Free Expression Myanmar (FEM) | Manushya Foundation


• Kian Vesteinsson, Senior Research Analyst, Technology and Democracy, Freedom House

• Letitia Visan, Human Rights Research & Advocacy Officer, Manushya Foundation

• Oliver Spencer, Senior adviser, Free Expression Myanmar

• Nenden Arum, Head of the Freedom of Expression Division, Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet)

• Kelly Koh, Program Officer, Sinar Project

2. Dialogue:
June 6, 2023 | 10 – 11pm WIB

“Sharing practices in a global community of feminist helplines addressing gender-based violence online”

Feminist collectives and networks are creating local and regional helplines for women and LGTBQIA+ people facing gender-based violence online. And even though they usually work with limited resources, these initiatives act on the front line to mitigate digital threats and attacks. In 2021, many of these feminist helplines began engaging in a global community of practice. During this session, members of the feminist helplines community from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America will present their initiatives and discuss their strategies to address gender-based violence online and the challenges ahead.

Compartir prácticas en una comunidad global de líneas de atención feministas Redes y colectivas feministas están creando líneas de atención para mujeres y personas LGTBQIA+ que enfrentan violencia de género en línea. Y aunque suelen trabajar con recursos limitados, estas iniciativas actúan en primera línea para mitigar las amenazas y ataques digitales. En 2021, muchas de estas líneas de atención feminista empezaron a participar en una comunidad global de prácticas. Durante esta sesión, integrantes de la comunidad de líneas de atención feministas de África, América Latina, Asia y Europa presentarán sus iniciativas y debatirán sobre sus estrategias para hacer frente a la violencia de género en línea y los retos que tienen por delante.

Host institution: Independent


• Alexandra Haché,Community Building, Digital Defenders Partnership

• Leila Yahaya,Executive Director, One Love Sisters

• Mariel Domínguez Lara,Corresponsable de la línea de apoyo, Luchadoras

• Widayanti Arioka,Head of the Division of Equality and Inclusion, SAFEnet

• Eva Cruells López,Coordinator, FemBloc
• Inés Binder, Communications and Knowledge Management Officer, Digital Defenders Partnership

3. Tech demo:

8 June 2023 | 8:45 – 9:45pm WIB

“Self-check your network from DPIs! (Beware of content moderation by infrastructure level)”

Those with power and influence inevitably exploit all systems for censorship to suppress unpopular voices and ideas. One of the key challenge if they suppress people through infrastructure level. Indeed, infrastructure blocking is a favorite tool of authoritarian governments. At the present time many of the states censoring the internet are already known to use deep packet filtering using Deep Packet Inspection (DPI).

This tech demo will introduce “Pindai (means “scan” in English) — a tools that can be used to check whether any DPI deployed on your internet access by Internet Service Provider (ISP). While showcasing the tools, this tech demo also provide an analysis over content moderation by Infrastructure level.

Host institution: Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet)

Moderator: Damar Juniarto, SAFEnet

• Ronny Lantip,
• Corynne McSherry, Legal Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation

4. Roundtable:

June 8, 2023 | 10 – 11pm WIB

“In defense of democracy and the open internet: alliances between Big Tech and civil society in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region”

This session is aimed as a follow-up discussion after the successful roundtable at RightCon 2022, “Rights-friendly content regulation in the Asia-Pacific region” and will continue to address the content regulation challenges. This year, we will have a focused, in-depth discussion on how to build allyship and alliance to devise practical solutions.

The rise of harmful content online such as hate speech, mis/disinformation, violent and extremist content, has led an increasing number of governments in the region to take excessive measures by making intermediaries to be responsible for such content and even imposing harsh criminal liabilities, which create additional pressures on the ability to express and access opinions and content online.

Such laws bestow undue power into the hands of the governments to over-regulate and, in some cases, censor certain contents when the definition of the illegality of contents can be loose and vague – which leaves a huge room for arbitrary decision and abuse. Laws that force a quick turnaround time for removals also create a significant problem when the governments try to become the arbiter of the truth and control the online conversations of people, because these rules create negative incentives for Internet companies to take down content upon government request without sufficient review of human rights and legal impact, for fear of heavy sanctions. Furthermore, the laws allowing access to identify of posting authors without warrant or otherwise free of any procedural safeguards allow the governments to harshly punish the authors of dissident postings.

Host institution: Google and Open Net Korea

Moderators (virtual & on-site):

• Chenie Yoon (virtual), Deputy Head of Content Policy, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google Asia Pacific

• Shahla Naimi (on-site), Global Human Rights Team, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google


• Kyung Sin Park, Director, Open Net, South Korea

• Michael Caster, Asia Digital Program Manager, Article 19, Thailand (speaking on Viet Nam)

• Damar Juniarto, Executive Director, SAFEnet, Indonesia

• Nighat Dad, Executive Director, Digital Rights Foundation, Pakistan


Enjoy sessions at RightsCon 2023. Look at the full schedule here: