Palestine – One thousand people are expected to attend the fourth annual Palestine Digital Activism Forum March 24th – 27th. The registration for the PDAF opened on February 3, 2020 at www.PDAF.ps.

The PDAF will be held both online and offline and include the participation of more than 60 speakers and trainers, representing different organizations working in human rights, digital media, and social sectors and more than 30 local and international partners. They will come together under the theme, “Digitizing Palestine – Between Threats and Opportunities” to consider how pushes for Palestinians to digitize in a context of insufficient international and national safeguards while the ongoing Israeli occupation is risking and violating their digital and human rights. 

A dedicated team from 7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media and a steering committee have organized the event which will take place in over 12 locations and include 4 online events. The PDAF also includes many local and international partners including the Association for Progressive Communications, Amnesty International. The event is sponsored by local, regional and international partners including Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Access Now and DW Akademie among others.

In recent years, digitization has swept the globe transforming the global economic, political and social landscape. Advocates of digitization promise that it will save time and money, improve the delivery of public and private services, create economic opportunities and support community building. But digital rights advocates, researchers and journalists know how new technologies and processes of digitization have also led to violations of people’s digital rights — their right to privacy, freedom of expression, political affiliation, assembly among others. 

  • Some of the most popular channels for communication in Palestine, social media companies have been known to share private data of Palestinians with states and actors known to violate their human rights. They have developed policies and practices that have resulted in hundreds of Palestinian voices including human rights defenders and journalists being censored. 
  • The economic dreams of many Palestinians living under occupation and a illegal blockade — restricting their freedom of movement, commerce and trade — denied by international payment platforms and e-commerce companies controlling the financial infrastructure necessary to fairly access the digital economy. 
  • International companies like Microsoft investing in Israeli surveillance companies who have developed their technology utilizing stolen Palestinian data. 
  • International intergovernmental bodies pressuring Palestinians to digitize and administer Digital IDs in a policy environment which lacks privacy or access to information laws and where new laws are being developed in secret and without consultation of the Palestinian public and passed by presidential decree.

Through a series of panels, roundtables, workshops, and other activities the PDAF will work to raise the awareness of the public about the opportunities and threats of digitization and develop a shared knowledge base between local and international experts about ways to ensure that digital rights and human rights will be protected.

Panels will cover the following topics, “Rapid Development of Technologies and the Impact on Digital Rights,” “E-governance in Palestine: Questions around access to information and data protection,” “Keeping Gaza Connected in a Time of Siege” and “Israeli strategies and tactics used to restrict Palestinian digital rights” among other panels, workshops, and trainings.

The PDAF will be launched on Tuesday, March 24th in Ramallah. Local and international media will be invited to participate and panels will be broadcast live on the 7amleh Center Facebook page.