​​The world’s leading summit on human rights in the digital age is back. After three years online, the 12th edition of RightsCon is both live in San José, Costa Rica, and online via the RightsCon platform from Monday, June 5 to Thursday, June 8 2023.

RightsCon offers a platform for thousands of participants around the world to convene, connect, and contribute to a shared agenda for the future of human rights and technology. Join leaders, activists, technologists, policymakers, journalists, philanthropists, researchers, and artists to explore opportunities to advance human rights in the digital age.

Those excited to be traveling to San José include: Georgia Bullen (Executive Director), Eriol Fox (Senior Product Manager and Designer), and Caroline Sinders (Convocation) and we hope to see and/or meet you at one of our events or please say hello.  If you’d like to meet us there please reach out via email to [email protected], and we’ve provided our session booking links below.

Human Rights Centered Design Gathering Satellite Event

June 5, 2023 | 9-3pm CST (GMT-6)


Following the last in-person convening of the Human Rights-Centered Design Community at RightsCon 2019, this event aims at bringing together designers, user researchers, technologist, digital security trainers and policy experts to reflect on the progress in the areas at the intersection between human rights and tech product design. We are inviting community members and first-timers to join in-depth working groups to discuss new trends and developments in accessibility, privacy, security and other critical factors that can decide whether a digital product can protect, rather than undermine human rights. This event requires additional registration:

Dismantling deceptive design practices: a human rights-centered approach

June 6, 2023 | 4.30-5.30pm CST (GMT-6)


Georgia Bullen (Superbloom), Dr Jen King (Stanford University), Becca Ricks (Mozilla), Willmary Escoto (Access Now), Hayley Tsukayama (Electronic Frontier Foundation), Sage Cheng (Access Now)

Deceptive designs, also known as dark patterns, manipulate people on the web into making choices against their own self-interest. Deceptive design is a human rights issue because these designs limit consent and autonomy online, particularly for vulnerable populations. Harms include financial loss, invasions of privacy, and negative impacts on mental health. Our human rights-centered design approach centers on lived experiences, and our presenters will share case studies and narratives for dismantling deceptive design. This multi-stakeholder conversation explores successes to replicate and pitfalls to avoid, looking not only at tech platforms and products but also at organizational design challenges and how companies can transform themselves to dismantle deceptive design and build trust. Using our best practices and facilitation tooling for equitable participation, our reliance on multiple input methods includes real-time notes to support neurodivergent people.  

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Transparency beyond social media: a practical exploration of recommendation algorithms

June 7, 2023 | 10.15-11.15am CST (GMT-6)


Caroline Sinders (Convocation), Michal Luria (Center for Democracy & Technology), Becca Ricks (Mozilla)

Social media platforms have been under the spotlight with demands for more transparency about how their recommendation algorithms work. Yet many other, non-social media platforms also use recommendation algorithms, and have just as significant of an impact on people’s lives in domains such as shopping, media, travel, transportation and more. In this workshop, we propose to include participants in considering what companies should share with users about how their recommendation algorithms work. In a hands-on exploration, participants will delve into what key non-social media platforms are currently sharing, while highlighting significant gaps in knowledge that companies need to address.

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Tools for enhancing personal protection on encrypted messaging platforms with secure and trusted design

June 7, 2023 | 2-3pm CST (GMT-6)

In person

Caroline Sinders (Convocation), Justin Hendrix (Tech Policy Press), Nathalie Maréchal (Center for Democracy & Technology)

The tension between protecting communities, at risk groups and general personal communication through encrypted services, and concerns about harmful content that can only be moderated to a limited degree is an ongoing debate. Several recent research efforts have recommended addressing this tension by providing communities with more agency, including providing tools to improve user control, filtering abilities, and reporting experiences. In this hands-on design workshop we will map solutions and tools that either currently exist, or that platforms can create for users in the near future, while highlighting some of their possible advantages and disadvantages of each tool.

In forming this mapping of possibilities, we will draw on recent findings from two research projects: a Tech Policy Press and Convocation Research + Design report on barriers to secure and trusted messaging, and a CDT research study conducted with teenagers and young adults in the US to capture their perspectives on digital message interactions they find concerning. We will discuss ways of addressing a range of “unwanted” content categories we have identified in our research, brainstorm practical tools/tooling that messaging platforms could provide to young audiences, and community/individual best practices around ‘safer’ messaging. We will also consider how these might or might not break encryption.

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A clear and present use case for peer-2-peer

June 7, 2023 | 2-3pm CST (GMT-6)

In person

Eriol Fox (Superbloom), Marcel Oomens (Zamaneh Media), Alex (Meduza), Sudeshna Chanda (NEMO Network of Exiled Media Outlets (NEMO), Jenny Ryan (eQualitie)

The #KeepItOn Coalition reported 931 internet shutdowns across 74 countries between 2016 and 2021. Authorities have learnt that shutdowns are an effective tool at shutting down dissent. The activist community looks at peer-2-peer technology to keep dissenting voices heard during a shutdown. But peer-2-peer communication, not reliant on internet connectivity, is a technology without a clear and present use case. Existing peer-2-peer tools are often interesting technology showcases with very small user bases. Adding peer-2-peer features to commercial apps and platforms adds little business value, so we need to look to the donor and (online and digital rights) activist communities to take a user-centered approach to designing and developing peer-2-peer tools. For example, Zamaneh Media, and online, Persian news medium, is investigating how peer-2-peer can help its newsroom maintain access to sources and reach audiences during a shutdown.

We need a clear and present use case for peer-2-peer. In this workshop, we wish to crowdsource the “Peer-2-Peer Design Manifesto”: 1. Which (internet) functions benefit the most from peer-2-peer connectivity during a shutdown? 2. Which websites and applications are easily extensible with peer-2-peer connectivity? 3. How do peer-2-peer features best support the users’ needs from these applications? 4. How to design features that provide a seamless, user-friendly peer-2-peer experience? Join this workshop. Bring your needs, your ideas and your experiences with peer-2-peer and distributed applications. What has worked for you previously and what do you need from your tools going forward? Come and leave your mark on your future peer-2-peer tools!  

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The devil’s in the details: adversarial design in action

June 7, 2023 | 4.30-5.30pm CST (GMT-6)

In person

Eriol Fox (Superbloom), Ashley Fowler (Internews), Nick Merrill (UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC), Helen Nyinakiiza (Digital Security Trainer), Jon Camfield (Meta)

Nuanced discussions on these threat actors, their goals and tactics are critical, but with the potential to re-traumatize victims or send defense, product, and policy teams into rabbit holes, the specific details can be counterproductive and derail holistic, risk-leveled approaches. This workshop explores the use of adversarial personas as a way that different stakeholders (the civil society, human rights defenders, the research community, and social media platforms) can work together to prevent, detect, and respond to advanced threat actors. Workshop leaders from academia, trust and safety efforts, design firms, and community digital safety trainers will present, share, and discuss their use of adversarial personas to address product design challenges as well as engage on traumatic experiences caused by powerful and persistent threat actors.

This workshop will also open up a discussion on complex, non-adversarial personas. This is to ensure we consider journalists, human rights defenders, and other important users who use overlapping or similar tactics as some adversaries, but for vastly different reasons. These users are working to maximize their own security and the security of their communities, but may be using anonymizing tools, accounts which appear fake, constantly logging in from “new” devices, using burner mobile numbers, and so on. While often signals of adversaries, these are legitimate tools which we need to take into account these positive, rights-protecting use cases in the use of adversarial personas

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F*ck it, we’ll do it ourselves: building products to prevent and counter gender-based violence online

June 8, 2023 | 3.15-4.15pm CST (GMT-6)

In person

Georgia Bullen (Superbloom), Eduardo Carillo (TEDIC), Luisa Braig (Social Finance UK), Fernanda Martins (InternetLab)

Whether the cause of gender violence online is the misuse by bad actors of a platform as intended, or a platform prioritizing engagement over safety, harassment is rife online and among the needed changes are the very products that we use every day. Many in the human rights and gender justice community have proposed direct changes to products, often without knowledge and collaboration of how product changes are made within companies. This session will provide an overview of the extent of the problem of gender harassment online, common pitfalls in working with platforms to change their services, and a workshop on the best ways to approach product development to prevent and respond to online gender-based violence.  

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We hope to see you in San José and online!