Journalists, Activists, Hackers: Meet This Year’s MozFest Speakers

19 luminaries at the intersection of technology and society will deliver compelling talks in London

Trolls. Misinformation. Efforts to undermine encryption.

These are just a few of the topics this year’s MozFest speakers will explore in London this October.

Join us as 19 luminaries at the intersection of technology and society discuss bright spots and threats to Internet health. This year’s speakers hail from eight countries on four continents. They’re activists, journalists, ethical hackers and comediennes.

MozFest’s 2016 speaker series

Speakers deliver 20-minute, TED-style talks throughout the festival weekend. Below, learn more about this year’s speakers. (And watch last year’s talks here.)

Can’t join us in London? No problem — all talks will stream live on

Meet the 2017 speakers, and learn when they’re presenting

— Speaking Saturday, Oct. 28 between 11:15–12:15 —

Mishi Choudhary | Legal Director, Software Freedom Law Center| @MishiChoudhary

Talk: Whatever Happened to the Promise of the Net?

Bio: 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.

Alan Knott-Craig, Jr. | Founder, Project Isizwe | @alanknottcraig

Talk: Free Wi-Fi for Africa

Bio: 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.

— Speaking Saturday, Oct. 28 between 12:45–13:45 —

Ashley Black | Comedienne, “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” | @ashleyn1cole

Talk: You Can Do It (Hopefully)! A Pep Talk For Nerds

Bio: 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.

Anasuya Sengupta | Co-Founder, Whose Knowledge | @Anasuyashh

Talk: How to Build an Internet with Us, Not for Us. 75% of the current online population is from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Nearly half are women. Yet Wikipedia, where we go for global information and knowledge on the internet, doesn’t reflect these realities. Neither does the broader internet. How can we build a current and future internet that is plural and inclusive?

Bio: 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 | Co-Founder, Whose Knowledge | @sikob

Talk: How to Build an Internet with Us, Not for Us. 75% of the current online population is from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Nearly half are women. Yet Wikipedia, where we go for global information and knowledge on the internet, doesn’t reflect these realities. Neither does the broader internet. How can we build a current and future internet that is plural and inclusive?

Bio: 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.

Matt Mitchell | Founder, CryptoHarlem | @geminiimatt

Talk: Protect Your Org: Surviving Digital Threats

Bio: 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.

— Speaking Saturday, Oct. 28 between 15:15–16:15 —

Ugo Vallauri | Co-Founder, The Restart Project | @ugomatic

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

Bio: 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.

Katherine Maher | Executive Director, Wikimedia | @krmaher

Talk: The Big Open

Bio: 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 | CEO, Creative Commons | @ryanmerkley

Talk: The Big Open

Bio: 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 | Executive Director, Mozilla | @msurman

Talk: The Big Open

Bio: 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.

— Speaking Sunday, Oct. 29 between 11:00–12:00—

Audrey Tang | Digital Minister, Taiwan | @audreyt

Talk: Stories from the Future of Democracy

Bio: 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.”

Emily May | Executive Director, Hollaback! | @emilymaynot

Talk: Being Human in the Dark Days of the Internet

Bio: 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.

Nighat Dad | Founder, Digital Rights Foundation Pakistan | @nighatdad

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

Bio: 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.

—Speaking Sunday, Oct. 29 between 12:45–13:45 —

Gisela Perez de Acha | Lawyer, Derechos Digital | @giselilla

Talk: How to Hack an Earthquake

Bio: 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.

Nanjira Sambuli | Digital Equality Advocacy Manager, Web Foundation | @NiNanjira

Talk: REACT to Close the Digital Gender Divide

Bio: 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.

Julia Angwin | Journalist, ProPublica | @juliaangwin

Talk: Quantifying Forgiveness. Algorithms are increasingly arbiters of forgiveness. They are used to decide who will get let out of jail, the amount that people pay in auto insurance premiums, and which neighborhoods will be overrun with cars sent there by a mapping algorithm. ProPublica Senior Reporter Julia Angwin discusses what she has learned about forgiveness in her series of articles on algorithmic accountability and the lessons we all need to learn for the coming AI future.

Bio: 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.

— Speaking Sunday, Oct. 29 between 15:15–16:15 —

Sarah Jeong | Senior Writer, the Verge | @sarahjeong

Talk: This is the Way the World Ends. A journalist’s guide to sorting through the sensationalism around the fake news phenomenon, and an exploration of the digital preconditions that have set us up for the failure of democracy

Bio: 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.

Gillian Crampton Smith | Author and professor

Talk: Robust, Useful, Delightful. This is what we expect from our material environment — cities, homes, furniture, tools, clothes, household equipment, cars. But increasingly we live in a parallel environment — the digital — which though fairly robust is far from uniformly useful, convenient or delightful

Bio: 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.

Emily Gorcenski | Data Scientist and Engineer | @EmilyGorcenski

Talk: Fake Science, Sad! Tales of Abuse in Open Data and Open Science

Bio: 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.

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