Rebecca MacKinnon begins her speech by explaining to the audience that throughout her career, she has worked with various niche writers such as bloggers, journalists, activists and human rights research.
MacKinnon goes on to state that through this she has come to the conclusion that unless our democratic society focuses more intently on protecting freedom and human rights, extremist ideologies are likely to persist and expand.
The impact of extremist ideologies on a country
MacKinnon discloses the audience that a prime example of this is Tunisia, MacKinnon explains that this was the only country that came out of Arab spring with a successful democratic revolution. She goes on to inform the audience that 5-years after this, Tunisia was plagued by rampant ISIS recruitment and terrorist attacks.
MacKinnon goes on to inform the audience on how the citizens of Tunisia pleaded with the government to do whatever it takes to keep them safe. Furthermore, she explains how a cartoonist Nadia Khiari depicted this with a cartoon of citizens being protected, however the protection came at the cost of freedom.
MacKinnon explains to the audience that if Tunisia is able to come out with a solution to their problem without removing the freedom of its citizens, it will become a role model, not only for its region but for the entire world.
The cost of attempting to restrict extremist propaganda
MacKinnon goes on to inform the audience that companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are actively working to ensure that extremist propaganda remains minimal. She explains that these companies have reported taking down thousands of pieces of content as well as deactivated accounts linked in any way to extremist propaganda.
However, MacKinnon explains here analysis on the depth of the collateral damage that these black box restrictions can lead to. As a prime example, MacKinnon uses the computer programmer from the United States, whose name happened to be Isis (after the Egyptian goddess).
MacKinnon informs the audience how Isis had her account deactivated due to her name, and only after having drawn enough media attention to herself, was she able to get her account reinstated.
MacKinnon informs the audience that she believes in the effort to impede extremist speech, critical information and crucial debates from various sources including journalism, activism, as well as public debates are being shunned and redacted from public view.
MacKinnon concludes her speech, stating that both governments, as well as businesses, need to be pushed in order to do a better job of protecting rights, she states that she believes extremism can be beaten with the global network of citizens who work hard and take personal risk to see a brighter future.