Access Now was formed in a moment of hopefulness surrounding the power of technology as a force for good in the world. During the 2009 Iranian election, millions came together both in person and online to organize, protest election fraud, and report on human rights abuses, despite the government blocking internet access, censoring content, and undermining its opponents’ online security.
Access Now began as an emergency response team of technologists working to help people get back online and ensure their safe communications. The organization’s emergency response team grew into the Digital Security Helpline in 2013 to provide at-risk communities with 24/7 real-time technical support. Since its launch, the Helpline has supported thousands of activists, independent journalists, and human rights defenders worldwide. Access Now launched the RightsCon Summit Series in 2011 in Silicon Valley, and have since hosted the event in Rio de Janeiro, Manila, Brussels, and Toronto. With the 8th annual conference in 2019 in Tunis gathering 2,500+ people from more than 100 countries, the RightsCon community continues to grow across all stakeholder groups.
Looking forward, Access Now is prepared to address new technologies as they emerge, and to bring the implications for human rights to the fore. With the indispensable support of our partners, funders, and allies, Access Now will fight to defend inclusive democracies, preserve spaces for civil society to flourish, and empower individuals to take control of their own information and identity in data-driven economies.
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