Weaponization of surveillance amid a pandemic in Asia Pacific

Part 1 - Lead Organizer


Contact Person

Liza Samonte Garcia

Organization / Affiliation (Please state "Individual" if appropriate)

Foundation for Media Alternatives


Executive Director



Economy of Residence


Primary Stakeholder Group

Civil Society


Part 2 - Session Proposal

Your proposal is for

Main Conference (Day 1-3)

Session Title

Weaponization of surveillance amid a pandemic in Asia Pacific



Session Format

Panel Discussion

Where do you plan to organize your session?

Virtual / online

Specific Issues for Discussion

The session will explore the different privacy-intrusive measures some governments in the region employed during the COVID-19 pandemic, that include contact tracing applications, databases, and new policies. It will highlight the privacy implications of these initiatives and also look into the seemingly sense of helplessness experienced by individuals, including civil society organizations, when responding to the threats posed by such activities. This includes as well the experiences of women and girls, who have been disproportionately affected by harassment, facilitated by government sanctioned data collection and surveillance activities. With their mobility already severely restricted as a result of state- sanctioned community lockdowns, most data subjects are forced to surrender their privacy and personal data, in order to comply with government regulations or to avail of important government services. The session will facilitate knowledge and analysis exchange among the discussants, and the participants as well, who are dealing with the same phenomenon.

Describe the Relevance of Your Session to APrIGF

The proposed session falls within the overarching theme of Trust. We have seen how governments in the region have come up with various efforts to come up with public health programs and service initiatives. Unfortunately, we have also seen the use of new technologies and the introduction of policies that expand or enhance State surveillance, across jurisdictions, under the guise of legitimate COVID response measures. This session, which will encourage an exchange among the discussants and participants, will hopefully give us a better understanding about the human rights ramifications of new technologies and projects introduced by some Asia Pacific governments, and hopefully be able to come up ideas and recommendations that will allow governments to implement its programs in a manner consistent with human rights and data protection standards.

Methodology / Agenda

The design of the session will be as follows: 1. Welcome and introductions (moderator) - 5 minutes The Moderator will introduce the session and its relevance to the APrIGF, then proceed to introduce each of the discussants 2. Individual talks by 4 discussants (7 minutes each) - 28 minutes Each of the 4 discussants will be given 7 minutes each to describe the landscape in their own countries 3. Open Forum - 22 minutes This segment allows for participants to ask questions or share similar cases in their countries. This is when we dig deeper into the issues in the different countries represented. 4. Wrap up / Closing - 5 minutes Since this is a virtual session, we hope to have an engaging session with the online participants as well. The alternate moderator will monitor the questions and comments of the participants, and ensure that they are read and/or responded to.

Please provide 3 subject matter tags that best describe your session.

#Surveillance #PrivacyIntrusion#Trust


Moderators & Speakers Info (Please complete where possible)

Name Designation Organization Economy of Residence Stakeholder Group Gender Status of Confirmation
Moderator (Primary) Liza Garcia Exec. Director Foundation for Media Alternatives Philippines Civil Society F Confirmed
Moderator (Back-up) Jamael Jacob Consultant Foundation for Media Alternatives\/Ateneo de Manila University Philippines Civil Society M Confirmed
Speaker 1 Jessamine Joyce Pacis Program Officer Foundation for Media Alternatives Philippines Civil Society F Confirmed
Speaker 2 Yi Ting Communications Officer Digital Defenders Partnership Singapore Civil Society F Confirmed
Speaker 3 Pallavi Bedi Senior Policy Officer Center for Internet and Society India Civil Society F Confirmed
Speaker 4 Damar Juniarto Executive Director SAFENet Indonesia Civil Society M Confirmed


Please explain the rationale for choosing each of the above contributors to the session.

Each of the speakers have been selected for their knowledge about about digital rights issues in their countries. Jessamine Pacis is the Program Officer for privacy and data protection of FMA. She has written briefing papers and articles on privacy, surveillance and other related issues. Damar Juniarto is the Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network or SAFENet, organization that works on digital rights in the region of Southeast Asia. He is a human rights activist known for his work on digital rights and online freedom of expression issues in the region. Yi Ting is with Digital Defenders Partnership. Her interests lie at the intersections of gender and technology, violence and security. Pallavi Bedi is Senior Policy Officer at the Center for Internet and Society in India, and has done work on surveillance and the pandemic in India.