"After all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable what then"?
George Orwell, 1984

In the early days of the internet, technologies empowered new voices, provided citizens around the world with greater freedom of expression, opportunities for civil society, education, and political participation. This is still true, especially in places where the Internet is a critical tool in the struggle for freedom. However, we’ve seen, in recent years, that these same technologies are now being used to undermine democracy.

There is bias, manipulation, polarization, abusive surveillance, and authoritarian control through digital networks. Targeted advertising, analytics and fake news become instruments of choice for malign forces, foreign and domestic, even in established democracies. In echo chambers of social media, only the loudest or most extreme voices gain traction, leading to emotion overpowering reason and extremes diminishing the footprint of common ground. Deepfakes can completely muddy the difference between facts and falsehood. Biometrics, facial recognition, big data, artificial intelligence allow groups of interests to recognize and to profile people. In certain countries, digital authoritarianism leads to intimidation, disinformation, reducing individual liberty, suppressing minority opinion, and enforcing centralized control.

A digital interconnected society and world, based on trust and respect of individual and human rights is the goal and the paradigm explored by DCN Global's new online conference. A digital interconnected and mass-surveillance-oriented society, based on manipulating human vulnerabilities and on polarization and mistrust is the Orwellian threat our coalition of digital influencers is trying to address.
Well known experts from all around the world will focus on essential tools such as critical thinking skills, true journalism versus opinion journalism, proper policy and governance principles, and community and network formation, supporting digital democracy.
Participation is free. After registering as an online participant you will receive the participation link a few days before the event!
SPEAKERS
Nikos Panagiotou 
Associate Professor, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, President Digital Communication Network Global, Greece 
Karl Stoltz
U.S. Department of State Global Engagement Center’s Deputy Coordinator
Aisha Down
 Investigative Journalist, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, U.S.
Dimitris Dimitriadis 
Digital Futurist, Chief Innovation Officer, The Futurecats, Thessaloniki, Greece
Adria Rodriguez-Perez
Adjunct Professor, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Data Protection Officer, Scytl Innovating Democracy, Barcelona, Spain
Eva Sow Ebion
Director, #i4policy, Dakar, Senegal  
Christopher Guess
Lead Technologist, Duke University Reporters’ Lab, U.S
Ayden Ferdeline
Public Interest Technologist, Berlin, Germany
Alisher Siddique
Director of RFE / RL Uzbek Service, Prague, Czech Republic
Aurra Kawanzaruwa
Educator & Managing Director, AfriDigital, Zimbabwe
John Green Otunga

 East Africa Program Manager, The Sentinel Project, Kenya
Meri Baghdasaryan

Legal Fellow, Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco, CA
Raashi Saxena

Social Innovation Practitioner, Bangalore, India
Layla Mashkoor
Associate Editor, Digital Forensic Research Lab, Atlantic Council, Canada
Ingrid Omahna
Head of Programme, Digital Engagement and Peace Operations Training Centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Grant Baker
Research Associate, Technology and Democracy, Freedom House, New York, U.S.
Yan Naung Oak
Founder, Thibi, Singapore
Duje Kozomara
Data protection consultant, founder of Consent / co-founder of Politiscope, Croatia 
Costanza Gallo
Ecosystem Manager, Swarm, Rome, Italy
Ame Elliott
Design Director, Simply Secure, U.S. / Germany
Alicia Fawcett
Foreign Interference & Disinformation Fellow at the Global Taiwan Institute, U.S
Prateek Sibal
Program Specialist, Digital Innovation and Transformation, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO, Paris, France
Cassandra Thomazios
Barrister-at-Law (Inner Temple) Advocate & Solicitor, Malaysia
SCHEDULE

The Conference will start at 13.00 (Athens Time).
You can calculate your time zone here.
Sunday, December 5
13:00 Panel Discussion: Future of the Internet and Public Interest
Moderator: Dimitris Dimitriadis, Digital Futurist, Chief Innovation Officer, The Futurecats, Thessaloniki, Greece
Speakers:
  • Ayden Ferdeline, Public Interest Technologist, Berlin, Germany
  • Raashi Saxena, Social Innovation Practitioner, Bangalore, India
  • Adria Rodriguez-Perez, Adjunct Professor, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Data Protection Officer, Scytl Innovating Democracy, Barcelona, Spain
  • Costanza Gallo, Ecosystem Manager, Swarm, Rome, Italy
  • Ame Elliott, Design Director, Simply Secure, U.S. / Germany
  • Alicia Fawcett, Foreign Interference & Disinformation Fellow at the Global Taiwan Institute, U.S, U.S
  • Duje Kozomara: data protection consultant, founder of Consent / co-founder of Politiscope, Croatia
15:30 End of the panel and moderator’s conclusions

Monday, December 6
07:30 Panel Discussion: Internet and Civic Engagement
Moderator: Aisha Down, Investigative Journalist, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, U.S.
Speakers:
  • Alisher Siddique, Director of RFE / RL Uzbek Service, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Ingrid Omahna, Head of Digital Engagement and Peace Operations Training Centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Grant Baker, Research Associate, Technology and Democracy, Freedom House, New York, U.S.
  • Prateek Sibal, Program Specialist, Digital Innovation and Transformation, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO, Paris, France
  • Yan Naung Oak, Founder, Thibi, Singapore
  • Meri Baghdasaryan, Legal Fellow, Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco, CA
  • Eva Sow Ebion, Director, #i4policy, Dakar, Senegal
10:00 End of the panel and conclusions by moderators
11:00 Break
13.00 Panel Discussion: Internet and Truth
Moderator: Professor Nikos Panagiotou, President DCN Global, Greece
Speakers:
  • Christopher Guess, Lead Technologist, Duke University Reporters’ Lab, U.S.
  • Layla Mashkoor, Associate Editor, Digital Forensic Research Lab, Atlantic Council, Canada
  • John Green Otunga, East Africa Program Manager, The Sentinel Project, Kenya
15:30 Launching of the new Digital Communication Network platform, hosted by DCN Global President Nikos Panagiotou (Greece), DCN Europe Manager Lusine Barseghyan (Armenia), DCN Africa Manager Aura Kawanzaruwa (Zimbabwe) and DCN Asia Acting Manager, Cassandra Thomazios (Malaysia), DCN Executive Director, Ashkhen Grigoryan, DCN’s Communication Director, Marianna Tanagia
16:00 DCN’s Global President Nikos Panagiotou’s discussion with U.S. Department of State Global Engagement Center’s Deputy Coordinator, Karl Stoltz
16:30 Moderators’ conclusions at the end of the forum

This forum is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Office of Citizen Exchanges
and organized by the Digital Communication Network Global (DCN Global) and World Learning.