Today and tomorrow developers from the technical community gather in Stockholm in order to work on projects related to Internet freedom. Some twentyfive developers from different parts of the world – about 70/30 from the Global North/South – are trying to collectively define, discuss and solve technical and policy related problems.
The Developers Summit is supported by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Internet Infrastructure Foundation (.SE), and organized by James Losey from the Open Technology Institute along with yours truly.
The Swedish Minstry of Foreign Affairs run a blog dedicated to freedom on the Internet, where my organizing partner James was interviewed about the Summit:
What will the Developer Summit lead to?
The summit will contribute to building a global developer community supporting human rights online by bringing together developers with diverse expertise and experience, and common overarching goals. Thirty or so developers are coming to Stockholm with concrete ideas that they are looking forward to exploring with each other, projects the summit will create space to work on, and key issues they would like input on. The summit is a place where all this can happen.
Has anything like this been organised before?
This is the first time that a diplomatic engagement on internet freedom between governments has been joined to the developer community, and this is a critical factor for future engagements. The political organisation around internet freedom must be linked to practical tool-building and education in support of safe and secure communications online.
This is truly an interesting project, from two perspectives.
First of all; it is amazing to see technical expertise of top notch standard gather to solve common problems. Some people know each other from before and have priorly been working on joint projects, but most of the people are in town to make new acquaintances. Suddenly, when the rights people are put in the same room, things just happen. It’s a kind of magic.
Secondly; by having such a solid official support for this event this is clearly one of the first (maybe _the_ first) time where such a Developers Summit really steps into the world of formal diplomacy and policy making, exploring the political aspects of technical security and Internet freedom related open data.
Since a lot of my (and our) work is a part of a larger process of translating knowledge and learnings from the technical community to useful societal tools and/or policy interventions this is a huge step. I firmly believe that understanding technology is totally necessary in order to either do change things to the better, or at least not screw to many political processes up. Developers Summits as the one going on right now is one step in the right direction.