Digital Human Rights

A national cryptocurrency experiment gone wrong, hard drive data secrets and an organisation fighting fake news – this is the cutting-edge of digital human rights.
If you’re not looking in the right places, it’s hard to find out about the state of digital human rights. At Tomorrow Unlocked, we have it sorted. From outrageous Venezuelan crypto experiments to machine learning algorithms fighting against disinformation, see how an elite of digital guardians are helping to preserve our digital rights.

Venezuela’s failed cryptocurrency experiment

Fighting hyperinflation with a state-backed cryptocurrency. What could possibly go wrong?

What happens when an authoritarian regime that controls every aspect of an economy creates a currency based on decentralization, free movement, and transparency? This is the explosive true story behind the world's first state-backed cryptocurrency.

A country-wide crypto experiment gone wrong

How many state governments do you know who'd put their faith in a cryptocurrency to level out hyperinflation and stop nation-wide riots? Not many, probably. And yet, that's exactly what Venezuala did to reinvigorate its economy amid financial carnage. Truthfully though, they didn't do too many of the hard yards. Instead, they supported entrepreneur Gabriel Jimenez to create the petro (₽), or petromoneda – the world's first state-backed cryptocurrency.

But as you can expect, when an authoritarian regime meets tech based on decentralization, there will be fireworks. As part of Tomorrow Unlocked's Coded series three, (now launching on Freethink) episode four focuses on entrepreneur and crypto-expert Gabriel Jimenez's journey from national hero to enemy of the state. Brace yourself for this one.


What data secrets can 185 hard drives tell you?

A live Q&A with Félix Aimé and Marco Preuss

Join presenter Rainer Bock to explore the great privacy challenges we face today, and what we can do to protect ourselves.

Join the privacy debate

Online privacy is more important than ever right now. Given the digital world's meteoric expansion, the ever-evolving threat landscape and murky data privacy court cases, this is the perfect time to brush up on what we're up against and how to stay safe.

Rainer Bock meets cybersecurity experts from Kaspersky's Global Research and Analysis Team, Marco Preuss and Félix Aimé. They discuss the critical stalkerware threat, programs that fight unwanted data sharing, and a bold privacy experiment involving 185 used hard drives, USB sticks and notepads.

Meeting the organization fighting to kill fake news

This episode of Coded explores how machine learning fights disinformation

Fighting police for openness on cell tracking

Chicago's tiny not-for-profit taking on powerful institutions.

The history of surveillance is one of control. As monitoring technologies accelerate, one not-for-profit noticed a concerning rise in unethical police cell phone observation. Their objections led to new, stronger digital rights legislation.

Stingrays and cell phones: Is your pocket private?

Smartphones have improved our lives more than we could have imagined. We work on them, use them to take and store private photos and they know where we are at any moment. But with advanced surveillance techniques, phones have become a powerful way for law enforcement to observe and identify us, ethically or not.

Last year's change to remote life made us all digital. Are we now in danger of trading private digital data for convenient digital services? Check out Kaspersky's privacy predictions for 2021 and learn how this year is going to affect our privacy in cyberspace.

One Chicago not-for-profit, Lucy Parsons Labs, is demanding government agencies like the police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) be more transparent about how and why they track people through their phones. Defenders of Digital episode three speaks with Lucy Parsons Labs' Executive Director Freddy Martinez about how law enforcement use technologies to covertly observe people, what it means for digital rights and how his team made US legal history.

How to defend privacy in digital space?

Kira Rakova and her team help you regain control of your personal data.

Empowering African women against cyber-harassment

Safe Sisters fight harassment and 'revenge porn' with education

Online abuse and cyber-harassment mean a disproportionate number of women remove themselves from crucial discussions. One not-for-profit is making a change for women in East Africa.

Can women protect themselves from online harassment?

In the digital age, not only do we send videos to friends and sing online karaoke with those we've never met, many are using social media to fight for equality. But online harassment, image-based sexual abuse (also called 'revenge porn') and cyberattacks can stop women especially from being part of the conversation that leads to real change. These cowardly acts also leave victims feeling embarrassed, ashamed and alone.

Safe Sisters is a fellowship program empowering girls and women, especially human rights activists, journalists and those in the media, to fight online abuse. In Defenders of Digital season two episode five, Safe Sisters' Immaculate Nabwire explains a landmark Ugandan image-based sexual abuse case that inspires her, the digital threats women in East Africa face and how her team are fighting for change.

AI tech lets disabled gamers smash access barriers

Gamers are using their voice to overcome accessibility problems

By 2023, there could be over three billion gamers worldwide. But for some people with disabilities, taking part in this wildly popular passion can be frustrating to impossible. Now, one piece of tech is out to make slaying dragons and building civilizations accessible to all. Will it change the future of gaming?

The AI-powered voice of a generation’s gamers

Since the world's first video game 'Pong' appeared in 1958, gaming has evolved in ways never imagined. But game accessibility is still a problem for as many as 30 million people in the US, because they have an impairment that means they come up against accessibility barriers when gaming.

Fridai is changing all that. The voice-activated, AI-powered assistant gives advice on anything gamers with disabilities may need, from hands-free options to being reminded of the game's objective. In Defenders of Digital series two, episode four, Mark Engelhardt, Fridai's Co-founder and CEO, talks about how the technology uses AI to create a new interface between humans and machines.

This NGO believes an online privacy utopia is worth fighting for

The world of digital privacy is changing.

Algorithms are everywhere, but they are trained based on the beliefs of their developer. In episode two of our second season of Defenders of Digital, we learn about Homo Digitalis' work to expose algorithm bias that impedes digital rights for millions. The first corporate they catch might surprise you.

Ethical algorithm moderation

Algorithms can improve our experience online. But one not-for-profit is going beyond the code for the greater good. Founded in 2018, Homo Digitalis has over 100 members. They promote transparency in algorithmic programming and safeguards against discrimination by algorithm.

Because programmers – as humans – have biases, algorithms learn from those biases. When we hand power over to the algorithm, it may erode digital rights and impinge freedom of expression without us knowing.

Homo Digitalis has already called out one tech giant for their moderation process. It could have impacted millions. Who was it? Find out in Defenders of Digital season two, episode two.

The people fighting online child exploitation, one image at a time

Meet Susie Hargreaves and her team.

Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) hunts down child sexual abuse images online and helps identify children involved so that law enforcement can intervene. While the recent pandemic has triggered greater numbers of child abuse images, CEO Susie Hargreaves and her team are fighting back with a new piece of tech.

Defenders of Digital episode one: Internet Watch Foundation 

COVID-19 has fuelled a disturbing increase in child sex abuse material online. Our latest Defenders of Digital series begins by introducing Susie Hargreaves's team at Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and explores their mission to make children safer. It also looks at how the pandemic has moved the goalposts and the new tech making a difference.

Where it all began 

Formed in 1996 in response to a fast-growing number of online child abuse cases, IWF's 155 members include tech's biggest names, such as Microsoft and Google. They're united by the common goal to rid the internet of child sexual abuse images and videos.

Online child abuse is a growing issue

The pandemic has made the issue of online child sexual abuse material more acute. During lockdown in the UK alone, IWF says 300,000 people were looking at online child sexual abuse images at any one time. What's worse, the material is always changing.

Self-generated content: A dark twist

IWF has recently seen a worrying rise in self-generated sexual abuse material, chiefly among girls age 11 to 13. The victim is groomed or coerced into photographing or filming themselves, which the sexual predator captures and distributes online. In the past year alone, the proportion of online content they're removing that is self-generated has risen from 33 to 40 percent.

New tech making the difference

There are encouraging developments helping IWF with their work. Microsoft's PhotoDNA analyzes known child exploitation images, finds copies elsewhere on the internet, and reports them for removal. It helped IWF remove 132,700 web pages showing child sexual abuse images in 2019. How does it work?

PhotoDNA scours the web for matching images

First, PhotoDNA creates a unique digital fingerprint of a known child abuse image, called a 'hash.' It compares that fingerprint against other hashes across the internet to find copies. It reports copies it finds to the site's host. It's a fast and ingenious way to shut down child exploitation.

Help stop child sexual exploitation: Report abuse images

Internet users who have stumbled across suspected child abuse images and reported them to IWF have been instrumental in starting a process that's led to many children in abusive situations receiving help. If you see an image or video you think may show child sexual exploitation, report it anonymously to IWF.

Want to learn how to better protect your kids when they're online? A free training course, based on the Skill Cup mobile app and developed with Kaspersky, is now available for parents to understand the challenges children face today.

Explore the course to better protect your kids online.

COVID fake news and false hope

How hackers are exploiting the pandemic

"Cybercriminals were quick to realize many years ago that people fall prey to hot topics," says Costin Raiu, Director of Global Research & Analysis, Kaspersky. And today's hottest topic is the pandemic.

Chapter 2 of hacker:HUNTER ha(ck)c1ne explores COVID-related phishing attacks, known as spear-phishing. These attacks skyrocketed by nearly seven times between February and March this year.

When the virus took force, and we were all frantic trying to help each other, cybercriminals found a way to wreak havoc. In September, Facebook announced an aid program of $100 million for small business owners affected by the pandemic. When the story was picked up by the media, hackers started fishing (or, more accurately, phishing) with the bait.

Hack the news

Cybercriminals published fake news saying Facebook would be handing out free money to everyone affected by COVID-19. On a site cleverly disguised to look like Facebook, you fill out a form that shares personal data like your address, social security number or a photo of your ID. You get a confirmation message that your application has been accepted and sit back and wait for the money to arrive. It never will.

The worst part? It's not the false hope, but what cybercriminals can do with this information: tricking friends and family members into sending money, credit card fraud or even identity theft


You've got mail

It's not just people like us who criminals are targeting - organizations are hit too. At work, you get sent an email you think is from someone you know or your manager. But when you click on a link or open an attachment, it downloads malicious software opening the door for hackers to access the corporate network. They download data to sell on the dark web, or encrypt it via ransomware and force the business to pay the ransom to stop it from being leaked.

Keep it safe

Photo by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash

Criminals have the resources to hit everyone, from society's most vulnerable people to lucrative targets like big businesses and government. "Clearly the world is not as safe as we would like it to be. We're surrounded by all kinds of new and different threats," explains Zak Doffman, Founder and CEO of Digital Barriers. "The access to COVID treatments is a nation-state wide competitive advantage."

In the face of this influx of threats, more kudos to the people keeping us and our data safe, like the Cyber Volunteers 19. To keep yourself safe, Kaspersky Daily serves up advice on spotting and protecting yourself from the Facebook grants scam.

No right to repair?

If you bought something, you can repair it, right? It's not that easy.

The other week, my car was at a technical check. It is a hybrid and they wanted to analyze the exhaust fumes. Yet, the car doesn't start the combustion engine before it reaches a certain speed - the software says so. It was quite entertaining watching them get more and more upset with my car - yet after 10 minutes they found what they had to do to let the software know that it needs to start the "dirty engine".