2017 Speakers

Whatever Happened to the Promise of the Net?

Mishi Choudhary


Mishi Choudhary is a technology lawyer with legal practice in New York and New Delhi. She is currently the Legal Director of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), where she is the primary legal representative of many of the world’s most significant free software developers, including Debian, the Apache Software Foundation, and OpenSSL. Mishi consults with and advises established businesses and startups using free software in their products and service offerings in the US, Europe, India, China, and Korea.

As of 2015, Mishi is the only lawyer in the world to simultaneously appear on briefs in the US and Indian Supreme Courts in the same term.

Free Wi-Fi for Africa


Alan Knott-Craig, Jr.


Alan Knott-Craig is a successful entrepreneur, best-selling author, chairman of HeroTel, a wireless broadband provider, and founder of Project Isizwe, an NGO rolling out free Wi-Fi in poor communities. Originally from Pretoria, he studied at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (formerly UPE) and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2002 and has subsequently invested or funded 21 companies in the tech industry.

A Pep Talk For Nerds


Ashley Black


Ashley Black is a writer and correspondent on “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” the critically-acclaimed and Emmy-nominated late-night satire show. In the segment Ms. Robot, Ashley explores the importance of encryption through on-the-ground reporting, interviews and a memorable music collaboration with Talib Kweli.

How to Build an Internet with Us, Not for Us


Anasuya Sengupta


Anasuya Sengupta is co-founder of Whose Knowledge? She has led initiatives in India/USA, across the global South, and internationally for over 20 years to amplify voices from the margins in virtual and physical worlds. She is the former Chief Grantmaking Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation and a 2017 Shuttleworth Fellow.


Siko Bouterse


Siko Bouterse is co-founder of Whose Knowledge? She is former Director of Community Resources at the Wikimedia Foundation, where she led teams and experiments like the Wikipedia Teahouse and Inspire. For over 10 years, she’s been community organizing, localizing and imagining a more plural, emancipatory and open web.

It Takes a Hacker to Catch a Hacker


Matt Mitchell


Matt Mitchell is a hacker, security researcher, operational security trainer, developer and data journalist who founded andleads CryptoHarlem, impromptu workshops teaching basic cryptography tools to the predominately African American community in upper Manhattan. Matt trains activists and journalists (as an independent trainer for Global Journalist Security) in digital security.

His personal work focuses on marginalized, aggressively-monitored, over-policed populations in the United States. Currently, he is a 2016 Mozilla-Ford Foundation Open Web Fellow embedded at Color of Change, a civil rights and social justice organization.

Who Cares About the AI Takeover When the Planet is Dying?


Ugo Vallauri


Ugo Vallauri is a co-founder of The Restart Project, a London-based charity fixing our relationship with electronics. By encouraging people to use their electronics longer and collecting data on recurrent product failures, it aims to inspire better design and policy-making around consumer products. He is a fellow of the Shuttleworth Foundation.

The Big Open


Katherine Maher


Katherine Maher is the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit behind Wikipedia. Maher has deep experience in the non-profit and international sectors, with a particular focus on the intersection of technology and human rights, development, transparency and community building.


Ryan Merkley


Ryan Merkley is the CEO of Creative Commons, where he is building a vibrant, usable commons powered by collaboration and gratitude.

Prior to Creative Commons, Ryan was Chief Operating Officer of Mozilla. He is an experienced campaigner and advocate for social causes, and has advised political campaigns on the local and national levels.


Mark Surman


The web is one of our most valuable public resources — it’s Mark Surman’s job to protect it.

Mark is Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, a global community that does everything from making Firefox to taking stands on issues like privacy and net neutrality. Mark’s main job is to build the movement side of Mozilla, rallying the citizens of the web, building alliances with likeminded organizations and leaders, and growing the open internet movement. Mark’s goal is nothing short of making the health and accessibility of the internet a mainstream issue around the world.

Stories from the Future of Democracy


Audrey Tang


Audrey Tang, a civic hacker and Taiwan’s Digital Minister, is known for revitalizing open source communities such as Perl and Haskell, and for leading the country’s first e-Rulemaking project. In the voluntary sector, Audrey contributes to Taiwan’s g0v (“gov-zero”) movement, with the call to “fork the government.”

Being Human in the Dark Days of the Internet


Emily May


Emily May is the co-founder and executive director of Hollaback!, an Ashoka Fellow, and a Prime Movers Fellow. In 2005, at the age of 24, she co-founded Hollaback! in New York City, and in 2010 she became its first full-time executive director. Under her leadership, the organization has scaled to over 50 cities in 25 countries, and launched HeartMob, Hollaback!’s platform designed to support people being harassed online.

I’m So Sick of Talking My Face Hurts: A Rant by a Brown Feminist from the Global South


Nighat Dad


Nighat Dad is the Executive Director of Digital Rights Foundation. She is an accomplished lawyer and a human rights activist. Nighat is one of the pioneers who have been campaigning around access to open internet in Pakistan and globally. She is a TED Global Fellow for 2017, has been listed as TIME’s Next Generation Leader, and is the recipient of Atlantic Council Freedom Award, and Human Rights Tulip Award.

How to Hack an Earthquake


Gisela Perez de Acha


Gisela Perez de Acha is a Mexican lawyer and journalist who specializes in free speech and gender rights within the digital world. She runs an independent cultural center and is the public policy manager for Latin America at the NGO Derechos Digitales.

Closing the Digital Gender Divide


Nanjira Sambuli


Nanjira is the Digital Equality Advocacy Manager at the Web Foundation, where she leads advocacy efforts to promote digital equality in access to and use of the web, with a particular focus on the Foundation’s Women’s Rights Online work.

What Algorithms Taught Me About Forgiveness


Julia Angwin


Julia Angwin is an award-winning investigative journalist at the independent news organization ProPublica. She is also the author of “Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance.”

From 2000 to 2013, Julia was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, where she led a privacy investigative team that was a Finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting in 2011 and won a Gerald Loeb Award in 2010.

Debunking Fake News and Fake Science


Sarah Jeong


Sarah Jeong is a journalist and lawyer who writes about technology at the Verge. She is the author of “The Internet of Garbage,” and has bylines at the Atlantic, the Washington Post, New York Times Magazine, and more. In 2017, she was named as one of Forbes’s 30 under 30 in the category of Media.


Emily Gorcenski


Emily is a data scientist and technological activist with backgrounds in computational mathematics, epidemiology, and software engineering. They are passionate about better technological citizenship and believe in ethical, inclusive technology. Their experience in the aerospace, healthcare, and financial industries has provided insight into complex intersection of disruptive innovation and regulation.

Robust, Useful, Delightful


Gillian Crampton Smith

Gillian Crampton Smith, originally a graphic designer, founded interaction design programs in London, Ivrea and Venice. With Philip Tabor, she recently moved to H-Farm, the top Italian tech accelerator to start a new programs. Her collaborations have included Apple Computer, Interval Research, IDEO, and MIT’s SenseAble City lab. In 2014 she received the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement in Practice Award.