This blog was written by JC Marquez, one of the participants of FMA’s Digital Rights Camp held on May 2019.


In the last week of May 2019, Foundation for Media Alternatives called for human rights defenders, advocates, and technologists to gather for a three-day camp to empower one another with new practices, resources, and technology.

Roughly fifty people with diverse backgrounds and expertise coming from various regions of the Philippines gathered in the camp to share their knowledge and insights with their fellows.

The camp was held in a private resort which is a great place to meet new people, make friends, and have fun at the same time while learning.

The camp highlighted the biggest issues of the internet and the Web, including online privacy and security, openness, decentralization, inclusion and literacy, just to name a few.

Open innovation

The idea of the camp’s program is to promote an “information age mindset” towards innovation to counter silo mentality. As openness drives innovation, inputs of everyone will predict the success of the event.

Minds are like parachutes; they work best when open. – T. Dewar

On the first day, participants were asked to propose topics that they will discuss for a span of one and a half hour. The topics may be discussed by an individual or as a group to encourage participation. There were open slots each day, enough to discuss and share each participant’s knowledge and personal experiences with the others during breakout sessions.

After slots were filled up, participants started to choose among the topics and sessions where they think they will learn best and where they were most likely to contribute.

The approach kept the participants engaged and willing to dedicate their time and ideas, understand better others’ points of view, see new perspectives, and build strong bonds.

Understanding the internet

As modern jobs and roles are created nowadays because of the internet, many of the people who use it do not have a complete understanding (or at least an inaccurate one) of how it really works.

The internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand. – Eric Schmidt

JC Marquez, one of the participants, gave a lightning talk on how the internet works, how data is transmitted from one device to another, the difference between internet and the Web, and a brief history of the internet and its principles.

Know more about how the internet works here.

Privacy add-ons and tools

Websites may be used by companies for unsolicited marketing messages and data monetization, and by the government for tracking and massive surveillance, so it is vital for internet users to uphold their rights to privacy even without deep technical knowledge on websites.

Browser add-ons extend the web browser’s capabilities to perform additional features, modify website appearances, and behaviors.

In one of the breakout sessions, technologists and privacy enthusiasts shared their recommended privacy add-ons and online services. Check them below.

Email services

ProtonMail is an end-to-end encrypted email service founded in 2014 at the CERN research facility.

Tutanota is a free and open-source end-to-end encrypted email software and freemium hosted secure email service.

Web browser

Firefox is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation.

The Onion Router (Tor) Browser is an open-source software that helps you stay anonymous online.

Browser add-ons

 Collaboration for good

To achieve the objectives of the camp, that is, to move forward based on knowledge exchange, cooperation, and community building, a project plan or idea is essential that will serve as an outline for the event’s success.

For the last activity of the camp, everyone gathered at an event hall and the facilitators laid colored papers and markers down at the center. One by one the participants started to write down their project ideas for the common good.

After writing down these ideas, participants presented them to everyone for further ideation and to look for passionate people who can execute the good ideas.

Now, these ideas remain in the heart of every one who were present that time, waiting for anyone to spark the change in their communities.

Thanks a lot to Foundation for Media Alternatives for making this event possible!

About the contributor

JC Marquez is an IT specialist. Visit his blog at jcmarquez.tech.


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