Vote To Discuss Technology For Democracy at SXSW

author: Mark Belinsky
date: 2011-08-18 15:58:36+00:00
slug: vote-to-discuss-technology-for-democracy-at-sxsw
title: Vote To Discuss Technology For Democracy at SXSW
wordpress_id: 3319

What is the current discussion around how technology is being used for supporting people advocating for democracy around the world? Please vote for the panels we and are friends are trying to host at the upcoming South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas.


SXSW is shaping up to be a pretty exciting festival this year. Kudos to the awesome Baratunde who is going to give the opening keynote. This year we’re exploring the little discussed aspects of the implications of technology. How can it empower but also endanger people and what creative strategies are currently being pursued around the world? The second is about how women are drivers of change. Please check out more details about them below:

Panel:How To Not Die: Using Tech In A Dictatorship

A discussion about how technologies that are often built in the west are being used around the world in extremely dangerous situations. Often there isn’t an idea of how to protect individuals and their human rights when developing these tools, even when they’re being used by activists and changemakers around the world. So this will be concrete examples from Burma, Tibet, Liberia and Egypt.

Speakers: Mark Belinsky – Digital Democracy

  1. Lhadon Tethong – Tibet Action Institute

  2. Brian Conley – Small World News

Panel:Women Drive Change: Tech in the Global South

The use of technology by women in the Global South is growing fast! From Africa to South America to Southeast Asia, women in the Global South are using technology tools in new and creative ways with astounding results. Teen girls and senior citizens alike are finding the freedom to use technology to let their voices be heard, to foster an independent living, and to bring about revolution. We will talk about what this means for women, how their online personas might differ from real-world personas in societies where women have fewer rights, and where technology tools need to go next in order to meet their specific needs.

Speakers: Jenn Sramek –CivicActions

  1. Kara Andrade – Ashoka

  2. Zawadi Nyong’o – Africa Cancer Foundation

  3. Emily Jacobi – Digital Democracy

  4. Catherine Harrington – Women’s Learning Partnership

Panel:Is that the mobilenet in your pocket or…

Mobile phones are a game-changer in filmmaking. Is it good, bad or ugly for the industry? This panel brings together the people who let us film the bleeding edge of film.. from our pockets. I’m looking to host this panel as part of the film fest given my history in documentary film and recent experience speaking at SilverDocs and at the Tribeca Film Institute with BAVC.

Friends’ Panels: There are some panels being put on that we highly recommend checking out as well and giving some votes to. Here’s our list. Feel free to add your own in the comments! We’re excited to learn what else is out there.

Panel: Internet Power: After Cyber-Optimism and Pessimism

Description A year ago one could have had an honest argument about whether the Internet was increasing the power of the oppressor or the oppressed. Events in Tunis, Cairo, Daraa, Tehran, Moscow, and Beijing have shown that it can benefit both and that the effect of digital technology on power will be complex and contradictory. What are we to make of freelance hacker orgs, transparency activists and covert cyber war?

Speakers: Chris Bronk – Rice University

  1. Richard Boly – Office of eDiplomacy, U.S. Department of State

  2. Mary Joyce – The Meta-Activism Project

  3. Ron Deibert – University of Toronto (Canada Centre for Global Security Studies, Citizen Lab)

  4. Patrick Meier – Ushahidi

Panel: Africa, Tech & Women: The New Faces of Development

2010 is the year that Africa will finally connect to the global undersea cable network powering today’s broadband internet traffic. How can Africa use the arrival of this high speed super highway to it’s advantage? What impact will broadband communications have on Africa’s development? Are we looking at Africa 3.0?

Speakers: TMS Ruge – Project Diaspora

  1. Ebele Okobi-Harris – Yahoo!

  2. Liz Ngonzi – New York University Heyman Center for Philanthropy & Fundraising

  3. Isis Nyong’o – InMobi Africa

  4. Milly Businge – Kikuube Village Council

Panel: How to Run a Social Site and Not Get Users Killed

Facebook helped foment an uprising. Twitter kept the world rapt as revolution unfolded. But for all of their benefits, the use of social networks often puts activists–in Egypt, Syria, China, or even the United States–at great risk. Your privacy policy and terms of use, as well as how you enforce them, could mean life or death for an activist (or an ordinary user) using your site. What can you, the social media company, do to help keep your users safe?

Speakers: Jillian York – Electronic Frontier Foundation

  1. Mathew Ingram – GigaOm

  2. Kacem El Ghazzali – none

  3. Danny O’Brien – Committee to Protect Journalists

  4. Sam Gregory – WITNESS

Panel: Social Change Film: Strategy+Transmedia+Evaluation

our job is not done once the film is complete. In fact, in today’s media landscape, early strategic thinking, transmedia collaborations and entertainment evaluations are critical components to increasing the impact of film’s for social change. They can help you reach a larger audience, amplify your message, connect with your audience, understand what worked and what didn’t work and bring in additional funding

Speakers: Debika Shome – harmony Institute

  1. Shaady Salehi – active voice

  2. Lina Srivastava – Lina Srivastava Consulting LLC

Panel: Social Design Fractals

What would Coca-Cola taste like if if the company improved the labor standards in its factories? What kinds of software would Microsoft produce if it made its CEO-to-worker pay ratio more equitable? When we think about socially responsible design, we tend to think in terms of physical tweaks to products and supply chains, meticulously calculating carbon footprints and life cycle analyses and whole-life costs. But ultimately, thanks to the fractal nature of complex systems, there may be less of a need to calculate than we think – changes made in the marketing or operations or human resources departments will inevitably manifest themselves in product development.

Organizer: Stephanie Gerson – Purpose

Panel: Better Food through Open Data Standards

There is an explosion in the number of services created to help people make better choices about how we produce, consume, and interact with food. Challenges related to the accuracy and completeness of data hamper the rate of innovation. A panel of leading food, data and technology doers shares their initial framework for an open standard for reporting, recording and sharing food information.

Speakers: Anthony Nicalo – Foodtree

  1. Niles Brooks – Clean Plates

  2. Danielle Gould – Food+Tech Connect

  3. Chacha Sikes – Code for America

  4. Britta Riley – Windowfarms


If you’d like to see more about what SXSW is all about, see above for an interactive dataviz on what the focus is this year.

Community Additions:

Panel: Your iPhone Is Political: Mobile Democracy

Thanks to Katherine Maher for suggesting this panel.

By 2014, more of us will access the Internet with mobile devices than with desktops or laptops. Android phones, iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices are quickly becoming our primary gateways to the Internet. Everything we do online — the ways that we produce news, organize our communities, and communicate with each other — will increasingly depend on access to these devices and the broadband data connections they provide. Meanwhile, wireless companies are seeking to determine what content we can see and how we can access it.

Speakers: Josh Levy – Free Press

  1. Nilay Patel – Thisismynext…

  2. Parul Desai – Consumers Union

  3. Katherine Maher – World Bank

Panel: Recognize This! Ethics of Mobile Face Tagging

Thanks to Sam Gregory for suggesting this panel.

With the ready availability of social media, digital databases of ID photos, high-resolution cameras and free, powerful face recognition software that can run on smartphones, we are entering into an unprecedented shift in the visual privacy of everyday people. Technology that was once the domain of authoritarian states, is now being put to use by the hottest tech startups, who often lack the capacity or capability to consider the broader cultural impact. What right do people have to control personal images in a socially-networked age or to be visually anonymous in a video-mediated world?

Speakers: Sam Gregory – WITNESS

  1. Harlo Holmes – The Guardian Project

  2. Bryan Nunez – WITNESS