Stockholm Internet forum: Unpacking Access plenary

Join Dr Alison Gillwald at the 2019 Stockholm Internet Forum: Internet Freedom for Global Development


16 May 2018


Dr Gillwald will be unpacking the findings from our  2019_After Access_Africa Comparative report covering 10 African countries. Follow the conversation @SIF 2019.

Session Description: With ever more innovative technologies connecting the farthest reaches of the planet, crucial issues remain unresolved. People living in poverty risk not having either resources, physical connectivity nor capacity to take advantage of new technology, being excluded from yet another development leap. For people living in poverty, lower quality of access limits possibilities for participating in and enforcing the internet as a genuinely democratic space.

The shrinking space online takes many forms, which often have negative consequences on both civil and political rights as well as social, cultural and economic rights and development. Online opportunities may be hampered by already existing power dynamics, particularly affecting women and other discriminated groups. The discussion on a rights-based approach to access must, therefore, include both the opportunities and risks presented by increased connectivity.

Previous SIF’s have looked at issues of expanding access (2015) as well as access and power (2017). This year’s session will unpack the concept of access, to look more closely at the drivers and interest behind the expansion and limitations of connectivity. It will attempt to identify practices that might limit the agency of the newly connected and try to devise ways to ensure that increased connectivity empowers individuals, rather than merely create new markets for one-way digital consumption. It will also look at the interface between economic growth and reliable, open connectivity –