September 23rd 10am PST/ 1pm EST
Human rights defenders increasingly rely on the internet and digital technologies to organize and promote democratic values and protect people’s voices. While these tools have empowered vulnerable communities worldwide to connect and advance human rights, they are also actively exploited by authoritarian regimes to target human rights activists. Increasingly, state actors turn to providers of surveillance-for-hire services to compromise human rights defenders and infect them with malware to surveil and silence them. These digital mercenaries offer malicious tools and services to the highest bidder, putting civil society voices at grave risk. This panel will discuss how human rights defenders, open-source researchers, technology platforms, and emerging democracy leaders can help protect activists and counter this new surveillance-for-hire industry.