Southeast Asia is a market of around 600 million people with a rapidly growing base of young and digitally savvy Internet users, including some of the largest social media user base globally. At the same time, there has recently been concerns over the introduction of policy frameworks that could potentially restrict users’ online activities and impact their rights to expression or privacy on the Internet.
In this context of opportunities and challenges, the Internet Society is supporting and participating in the RightsCon Southeast Asia, to be held on 24-25 March in Manila, Philippines. This will be a very exciting event, gathering a wide range of actors including over 150 civil society organizations.
This will be quite a busy few days for the Internet Society. ISOC will organize a session that will discuss the trade-off between digital rights and national security objectives. We will explore concrete cases of this balancing exercise in Asia and panelists will debate whether to push back on the notion that more security means less privacy or expression rights.
The ISOC Philippines Chapter is also co-organizing a pre-event on 23 March that will gather Internet stakeholders from across the Philippines to discuss local issues around digital rights and the digital divide. On the same day, our Asia-Pacific Bureau will release a new study examining connectivity-related barriers that prevent ASEAN economies from fully capitalizing on the Internet as a tool for socio-economic growth in the region.
If you are planning to be in Manila, please get in touch with me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
UPDATE: Read the report: Unleashing the Potential of the Internet for ASEAN Economies