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Will the Internet Set Us Free? A Future Tense Event in Mexico City.

Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images

People use tablets and smartphones to play Pokémon Go game at a public park in Mexico City on August 10, 2016.

Remember the early days of internet exuberance? All the talk was about how it would inevitably expand freedom across the world, by connecting people to information and to one another. Once online and connected, we liked to believe, people would be free to avoid censors, organize with like-minded citizens, and mobilize as an independent civil society. Indeed, the internet and social media have inspired people in many parts of the world, including Mexico, to demand safer neighborhoods, a cleaner environment, better schools, a crackdown on corruption, and, of course, greater freedom.

But as governments (and corporations, for that matter) have become more sophisticated at combing through the vast quantities of data we surrender to the cloud, it has also become easier to track individuals and their behavior, to police against crime, silence dissent, or disseminate tailored propaganda, disinformation, or advertising. If connecting online was once seen as the ultimate act of individual empowerment, some people now speak of going off the grid to regain their freedom.

Technology will continue to alter the balance of power between individuals and the state in ways we cannot yet predict, and we invite you to join Arizona State University and Future Tense to consider how we might best protect individual freedoms in a more connected world.

The event will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 23, at Mexico City’s Casa Lamm Cultural Center. A reception will follow the main program from 8:40 p.m. till 11:00 p.m. If you would like to attend, please RSVP on the event webpage.


6:00 – 6:30: Reconciling Freedom and Security in a Digital Age

Jonathan Koppell
Dean and professor, College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Arizona State University
Author, World Rule: Accountability, Legitimacy and the Design of Global Governance

Katherine Mangu-Ward
Editor in chief, Reason
Future Tense fellow, New America

Carlos Bravo Regidor
Coordinador De La Maestría En Periodismo Y Asuntos Públicos, Centro De Estudios Y Docencia Económicas

Moderator:Andrés Martinez
Editorial Director, Future Tense
Professor of practice, Cronkite School, Arizona State University

6:30 – 7:10: Free Speech, Censorship and Disinformation

León Krauze
Anchor, Univisión
Wallis Annenberg Chair in Journalism, University of Southern California
Author, La mesa: Historias de nuestra genre

Andrés Martinez

7:10 – 7:30: Big Brother Inc.

Mark Hass
Professor of practice, Cronkite School and the W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University
Former CEO, Edelman U.S.

Andrés Martinez

7:30 – 8:00: When Citizens Mobilize With Data

Dan Gillmor
Professor of practice, Cronkite School, Arizona State University
Author, We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People
Future Tense fellow, New America

Gabriella Gómez-Mont
Director and founder, Laboratorio Para La Ciudad

Alexandra Zapata Hojel
Senior researcher, Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad
Coordinator, Mejora tu Escuela

León Krauze

8:00 – 8:40: Combating Secretive Governments with Transparency

Carlos Brito
Director de Incidencia, Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales

Shane Harris
Senior national security writer, the Wall Street Journal
Author, @War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex

Alexandra Hass
Presidenta, Consejo Nacional para Prevenir la Discriminacion

León Krauze

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.