Bread&Net is a multi-day unconference, where activists, technologists, lawyers, artists, trainers, journalists, researchers, entrepreneurs and others from across the region will come together to strengthen collective efforts to advance human rights in digitally networked spaces.
The Bread&Net program is 100% participant built. Sessions and workshops will be organized around five central themes, each addressing a priority topic for discussion and action identified by various communities in the MENA region.
Policy and Advocacy in Difficult Contexts
The Arab civic space online is a shrinking, increasingly surveilled sphere, subject not only to the policies of governments, but to those of private sector companies and tech platforms. Given these complex circumstances, what are the opportunities for positive policy change in our region?
Policy and Advocacy in Difficult Contexts topics include:
- Regional policy trends
- Legal analysis and impacts
- Platform accountability
- Governance and control of internet infrastructure
- Business and human rights
Digital Security Education and Practice
Educating users on digital security can take a variety of forms, and doing so in a way that supports long-term digital resilience and safety is an ongoing challenge. What kinds of digital security support are we providing to our communities, and what are the urgent threats faced by individuals and organizations in the region? Which practices and tools are we promoting and supporting?
Digital Security Education and Practice topics include:
- Training methodologies
- Collaboration and knowledge sharing
- Organizational security
- Emerging regional threats
- Secure communication and circumvention tools
Communities and Networks
As harassment and hate speech increases globally, vulnerable individuals and marginalized groups in the Arab region must navigate a digital sphere that is increasingly dominated by censorship, state policing, and religious and ideological fundamentalism. How can these communities thrive in such spaces online, and how do these challenges affect their daily realities?
Networks of Individuality and Community topics include:
- Gender and sexuality online
- Mental health and self-care
- Online gender and identity based violence
- Supporting and sustaining online networks
Cultural and Knowledge Production Online
Digitization has had a profound impact on the evolution of the modern Arab identity, allowing us to preserve and disseminate cultural narratives to global audiences. It also provided new avenues for applied research on new modes of expression, communication and governance in the digital age. How can artists, academics, journalists, internet researchers, and others leverage these opportunities to sustainably promote open culture and knowledge in the face of language restrictions, content moderation, intellectual property rights, and other access barriers?
Culture and Knowledge Production Online topics include:
- Language and localization
- Documentation and archiving
- Art and academia online
- Copyright and intellectual property challenges
- Applied research on digital issues
Much of the technology we interact with, from apps to hardware, depends on proprietary software and predatory algorithms. How do surveillance capitalism and for-profit data collection impact our experience in the online space, and what alternative forms of technology and communication can we adopt to restore agency over our digital selves?
Autonomous Alternatives topics include:
- Supporting a feminist internet
- Open-source and community-developed technology
- Alternative media and countering misinformation
- Internet access and infrastructure
Bread&Net is an Arabic-language unconference that will strengthen efforts across the MENA region to defend human rights in digitally networked spaces.
From November 15 to 17, 2019 in Beirut, Lebanon, regional activists, technologists, lawyers, artists, trainers, journalists, researchers, entrepreneurs, and others will convene to set a collective, forward-looking agenda promoting digital freedoms in the Middle East and North Africa. We will support that agenda by developing improved strategies for engaging broader, more diverse communities in the development and critique of practices and policies that implicate human rights in digitally networked spaces.
Over the past decade, civil society has become dependent on access to digital networks and tools. In the MENA region, however, the advantages these networks and tools afford have been mitigated by increasingly restrictive laws, scaled-up mass surveillance, disinformation campaigns, and crackdowns on online freedom of expression. The resulting constriction of civic space has all but neutralized advocacy for digital rights. Bread&Net will reactivate and renew an existing yet latent network of multidisciplinary stakeholders by offering an open, safe physical space from which to devise strategies and tactics that respond to these challenges.