James Clark

Why I joined Digital Rights Watch

07 March, 2022

A few weeks ago I started a new role as Executive Director of Digital Rights Watch. This week I wrote to our supporters to introduce myself and explain why I’m excited about taking on this role. This is that note:

The internet has always been a big part of my life and I’m thrilled to be joining such a powerful team to continue this vital work of protecting our rights online.

I come to this role from a decade in the climate movement where I used digital tools to connect with people, grow the movement and fight for a safe climate for all of us.

As we endeavoured to grow the climate movement, the internet shaped every aspect of our work. We moulded our communications strategies around the content amplification algorithms of social networks, organisers developed strategies to prevent their phones and computers being monitored by private and state hackers and we dealt with the fallout from the fear and lies that were spread by polluters unchecked on social media platforms.

Surveillance and repression of environmental and human rights defenders continues to expand around the world, and our spaces for news and civic participation are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few unaccountable big tech billionaires. Not only is this a threat to our safety and human rights online, it’s a threat to democracy and our planet.

A safe, free and open internet is too important for our society and democracy to let powerful actors monitor and control it for their own ends. We should have a real choice over who knows the most intimate details of our lives and we should be safe to engage in democratic debate free from manipulation and surveillance.

I’m excited to join this community in the fight for our human rights and freedoms in the digital age.

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Hey, I'm James Clark. I’m an organiser, writer and social movement nerd based in Melbourne, Australia. You can read more about me here.