Digital Activism and Privacy - quick fix or long term involvement?

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Youth working group

Strictly for youth, young people and young grown-ups only. Non-youth is kindly requested to stay outside.

Session title

Digital Activism and Privacy - quick fix or long term involvement?

Session topics

Privacy, mass surveillance, digital activism, civil society participation.

Session description

There is a need for stronger multi-stakeholder participation in the political processes of Internet Governance concerning privacy-related issues. However is digital activism really creating these opportunities? Digital activism can be defined as the use of ICTs for a range of forms of activism to facilitate communication among citizens and raise awareness for political issues. Recent debate on new EU Data protection reform showed the need to rethink and adapt. Carried out through a closed community of experts in a non-transparent process these important topic elude the average user, which it affects. Digital activism is one of the ways privacy issues are approached and addressed to date. However today's representation of actors and agents of digital activism is very imbalanced, regionally disproportional and creating a gender gap. Moreover participation of civil society on the web in IG, its work and methods are questionable, not institutionalised and often uncoordinated. Hence,the democratic quality of digital activism, characterized by its level of legitimacy, representativeness, accountability, and inclusiveness, needs to be assessed and problems associated in this context, such as the digital divide and a lack of institutionalization should be discussed.

Questions to be addressed: What is the added value of digital activism for the young people? Can problems of youth participation in IG be addressed through similar innovative processes of participation, or does it just relieve young people's need to express themselves whilst the decisions are made elsewhere.Can digital activism bridge the gap between classic particiaption and technical community? What is the impact of digital youth activism on the lives of young people, taking into account that the net keeps record on everything? What is the value of anonymous activism?

TL;DR: This panel will look into how digital activism influences privacy issues. Whether it is really working as an instrument to change digital policy debate. What are the mechanisms of digital activism and how relevant is that for young people? Moreover is it an effective way to go to influence European politics on Internet Governance?


  • Focal points:
  • Nadine Karbach, IJAB e.V./Youth IGF-D
  • Lorena Jaume-Palasi, Ludwig Maximilians University/IGF-D Youth forum
  • Live moderator: tbd
  • Rapporteur: tbd
  • Remote participation moderator: Narine Khachatryan
  • Digital facilitator: Martin
  • Panelists/speakers: (suggested list of panelist/speakers)
  • Anya Orlova, Network of European Digital Youth
  • Paula Roth, New Media Summer School
  • Rabea Willers, Youth Representative, Directorate for Democratic Governance, Council of Europe
  • Katitza Rodriguez, Director Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

Format of this working group at EuroDIG

A plenary with focus on remote participation and supported by digital debates We aim to develop an Activist Manifesto-Developed in parallel. In permanent beta (like the structure made in NETMundial) - Outcome document..."principles on privacy in Europe (?)" Questions will be collected primarily via Twitter and the created online discussion.

Further reading

Coming soon.

Live stream / remote participation

Link Click here to participate remotely

Live transcripts

Click here to view the live transcripts


Q1: How has activism changed, or not, in an internet embedded area for action?

Anya: Digitals tools are very supportive. Digital tools gives you bigger access to all necessary things you need for organizing an action.

Q2: What’s the difference between digital activism and activism?

Difference between digital activism and activism is that with digital tools it’s easier to mobilise people in a shorter time frame. Internet has made it possible to create new innovative tools for connecting citizens to politicians. For instance - crowdsourcing for drafting bills/initiatives. Digital activism might be a better option if you want to organize a big demonstration. Digital activism does not only put privacy on the political agenda but it’s also privacy of digital activism is protected. This movement of digital activism can grow.

Q3: What about Slacktivism?

Q4: What specific issues/concerns of privacy are we looking for? Authorities know who you are anyway.

A: When you are activist you are giving away your privacy. But that doesn’t mean that you have not to protect your privacy/anonymity. However, tools like “Tor” can be used by activists to protect yourself from prosecution. Only because you want to change it doesn’t mean that you have to become a public figure. Everything that we do offline is the same as doing online. Therefore, legislation has to protect you in any case. Same rules should apply for both areas.

Q5: Is there any legislation on crowdsourcing?

A: There is an attempt of this in Finland and the Ministry is involved too. Law has been drafted and passed to ministry, it’s still in the process of adoption.

Q6: Any legislation on that at EU level?

A: No.

Q7: Is privacy a form of activism?


Q8: How can we make that my previous generation can understand what we are talking about?

Q9: What about Slacktivism that is putting less value on digital activism is the majority of our activism slacktivism?

Q10: Which digital tools are activists using the most? Are there choices or only one we tend to use the most?

A: Different, but Twitter and Facebook is dominating. However, media or how we call it printed/traditional media is also powerful. Therefore we shouldn’t forget the traditional media as a tool of activism.

A: maybe we shouldn’t be afraid of facebook and just change the rules. Maybe facebook won't belong to facebook and it will be everyones.

Q11: Is twitter activism real? Where is the line between slacktivism and clicktivism and real activism (both - digital and non-digital)?

A: Twitter activism is indeed real. People support each other when they are abused/bullied because you can find someone like you and help each other.

A: About slacktivism. We (Katizia) get a lot of signatures on one (of our) petition. Government should not ignore that fact. Such digital activism can indeed mobilize people for making change.

A: Signing petitions and other digital activisms are a good way for raising awareness. Even clicking a link is informing you.

Q12: Shape the meaning. I can send someone some links but how can I really want to make sure that you’ve been informed?

Q13: What about buying clicks, buying friends on internet? How can we make sure that they are real?

Q14: What if we are engaging only those who are already active offline. How do we engage those who are from different social group/backgrounds?


EuroDIG Youth Panel Manifesto (in progress)

Final report from working groupPDF (approx. 2 weeks after event)

Mailing list

youth-working-group (add)

Pictures from working group


Session tags

Privacy, Digital Activism, Youth

Session twitter hashtag

Hashtag: #IGactivism

Session progress

The youth working group ran a survey among all participating individuals and organizations to narrow down the most popular topics for a session. Results of the survey. The youth working group has set a participation tool called Ypart to discuss easily with others about session subject and format. [1]

A mailing list with the most active people on the ypart was set up to finalize the session outline. The drafting progress is handled collaboratively on a pad.