Digital Debates

The Online Debate from a Civil Society Perspective

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Debate 7: Cyber Security – A Blind Spot for Civil Society Actors on the Internet?

7 October 2021, 16:00 hrs. CET

The digital transformation encompasses consumer electronics, online shopping and education, eGovernment and Gig work. And as our societies undergo this transformation, so do civil society organisations (CSOs). What started with digitalised back offices, eMail and accounting, has evolved in CSOs maintaining data and databases, using biometrics and bots, and experimenting with artificial intelligence. Some CSOs have entered into alliances with tech companies while others keep their distance, criticising their business models and advocating for change.

Hosted by Barb Iverson, the 7th Digital Debate will discuss the issue of cyber security as it affects civil society. In a world where hackers seek to damage or steal data, disrupt digital life by spreading computer viruses and ransomware, and launch denial of service attacks, are CSOs doing enough to secure their operations and safeguard the integrity of the personal data of the people they support?

Recently the issue hit the news headlines when western armed forces, but also ICSOs, left Afghanistan hastily. And the question of personal data, biometric data in particular, of Afghans left behind, was asked. However, our discussion goes beyond a single incident and tries to establish what needs to be done beyond good intentions, progressive mandates, and grassroots involvement in securing the well-being of individuals and the integrity of civil society structures in the digital space.

The digital rights movement has created very high standards of data protection and data autonomy. However, they cannot be attained without cyber security. This then begs the question of how to reach a maximum degree of security in an environment that is often cash-starved and to a high degree dependent on philanthropy and collaboration with Hi-Tech companies?

So, the question stands: Cyber Security – A Blind Spot for Civil Society Actors on the Internet? 

Digital Debates: Event Series

Every month, this event series will provide inspiring discussions for the civil society sector based on the constant change that digitalisation brings to our societies. Each debate will be a call to action for CSOs to take a more active role in shaping our digital future.

Barbara Iverson will moderate each debate. She teaches Interpersonal Skills and Intercultural Management at the CODE University of Applied Sciences in Berlin.

Digital Debate Panellists

  • Adrien Ogée
  • Chief Operations Officer of the CyberPeace Institute
  • Bio
  • Suha Mohamed
  • Strategy and Partnerships Lead at Aapti
  • Bio
  • Anthony Wadlow
  • Controller of Governance and Assurance for Sightsavers
  • Bio