Access Now


Watch: Nowhere to turn

E.U. authorities are deploying dangerous surveillance tech at and within their borders – fueling violence and reinforcing systemic oppression. As lawmakers finalize the E.U. AI Act, we have a message for MEPs: #ProtectNotSurveil people on the move. Join us to demand basic human rights protections for everyone, regardless of migration status.

Watch: Nowhere to turn

Your AI questions, answered

What you need to know about generative AI and human rights

If you're worried about generative AI, but not quite sure what to be worried about, we've got you covered. In our new FAQ, Access Now's Daniel Leufer explains what the technology can and cannot do, and who you should listen to when it comes to the human rights risks. Read more via Access Now

Timnit Gebru on AI and Big Tech: the problem is you

DAIR founder Timnit Gebru talks to The Guardian about how Big Tech shapes the discourse on AI, and why that has to change. “That conversation ascribes agency to a tool rather than the humans building the tool,” she says, adding, "Well, no – it’s you that’s the problem. You’re building something with certain characteristics for your profit. That’s extremely distracting, and it takes the attention away from real harms and things that we need to do. Right now.” Read more via The Guardian

How the U.S. plans to combat AI harms

In the U.S., the Biden administration is advancing a number of AI-related initiatives, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has already issued a statement on how it plans to use existing authorities to protect people. In this Twitter thread, Access Now's Willmary Escoto breaks down the details, with a response from FTC Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya. Read more via Access Now

Pegasus, weapon of war

Hacking in a war zone: Pegasus spyware in the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict

For the first time, researchers have uncovered evidence of the use of NSO Group's dangerous Pegasus spyware in an international war context. Read our joint investigation to learn who was hacked, and join our call on all stakeholders to disarm spyware globally. Read more via Access Now

Now national security is on the line

Speaking to WIRED, the Citizen Lab's John Scott-Railton, one of the researchers behind the Armenia spyware investigation, underscores the gravity of spyware use in a war context. "It’s the kind of thing that could potentially...change or influence the course of a conflict," he says. Read more via WIRED

FinFisher hooked: Germany charges executives for selling spyware to Turkey

Good news for spyware accountability: after Access Now documented evidence showing that FinFisher's spyware was used to target government critics in Turkey, Netzpolitik, the Society for Freedom Rights, Reporters Without Borders, and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights filed a legal complaint. Now, four former FinFisher executives have been charged with selling spyware to Turkey without export licenses. Read more via Netzpolitik (in German)

The GDPR grows up

New: "Five years under the GDPR: becoming an enforcement success"

The E.U.'s General Data Protection Regulation has already given Europeans more control of their data, and led the way for better data protection laws worldwide. But slow enforcement has delayed the anticipated sector-wide shift away from data-hungry corporate practices — aka “surveillance capitalism.” In our latest report on the GDPR’s implementation, Access Now's Estelle Massé explains what it will take for the law to reach its full potential: "The GDPR is already a legislative success; now it needs to become an enforcement success story." Read more via Access Now

Why the biggest-ever GDPR fine still isn't enough to protect our privacy

This week Ireland's Data Protection Commission meted out a record €1.2 billion fine to Meta for sending Europeans' data to the U.S. But Meta could still end up keeping all the data it has collected, despite the fact that "fundamentally the U.S. has not changed its approach to surveillance," Estelle Massé warns. Read more via Al Jazeera

Holding Big Tech accountable

Meta shareholders to company leaders: your business model hurts human rights

Accountability doesn't always have to come from the courts. Ahead of Meta's shareholder meeting on May 31, Access Now's Laura Okkonen looks at four investor proposals aimed at increasing the company's transparency and accountability. That includes a proposal that would require Meta to conduct an independent third-party human rights impact assessment of its core business model: targeted advertising. Read more via Access Now

Alphabet investors want more transparency, less complacency

Alphabet's Google is a pioneer of tech-sector transparency. But its recent business decisions raise serious red flags about the company’s commitment to human rights. In the final piece in our series on how investors are pushing Big Tech to do better, we explain why Alphabet shareholders want the company to review its siting of Google Cloud centers in countries with poor records on human rights, and conduct an independent assessment of its overall efficacy in managing risk. Read more via Access Now

Standing up for those who speak out

Civil society condemns persecution of Venezuelan activist Oscar Costero

Wikipedia editor Costero is a defender of free access to knowledge and digital rights. But since 2019, he's been the victim of a smear campaign, and was unjustly arrested and then barred from leaving Venezuela. Learn more about his case, and join Access Now and other international, regional, and local NGOs in denouncing this witch-hunt and demanding that he is treated fairly and allowed to move freely. Read more via Access Now (in Spanish)

Opportunities and other highlights

Join our team and fight for digital rights globally!

We’re hiring an Advocacy Coordinator (South Asia), a Senior Policy Analyst/Counsel (East Asia), and a Communities Communications Coordinator for our Digital Security Helpline. Learn more and applyRead more via Access Now

Listen: AI threats — the merging of man and machine?

Is AI like climate change, where no one sees the danger until it's too late? In this podcast episode, Access Now's Brett Solomon talks about why this is a "generational moment" for reining in AI tech. Tune in via This Week in Cyberspace

Join us at RightsCon (June 5-8)

Time to build your own RightsCon agenda!

With less than two weeks to go before thousands gather in Costa Rica, the RightsCon Summit platform is now open! Register now to explore the official program and start building your schedule. New features include filters for in-person, online, and hybrid sessions, personalized reminders, and enhanced mobile user experience. Whether you are joining us in person or participating remotely, we can't wait to connect!

Get your ticket to RightsCon Costa Rica (Jun 5-8 2023)