SCiDEV hosted the Digital Rights Festival in Tirana on 17 and 19 December, on the premises of the Tulla Culture Center. The Festival of Digital Rights in Tirana constitutes the project’s final event, implemented in the framework of the Tirana European Youth Capital 2022 Programme with the financial support of the National Youth Congress and the Municipality of Tirana.

The event brought together 25 young people who created the digital rights hub with the support of three mentors with expertise in cybersecurity, data protection, and Albanian legislation. The digital rights repository contains comprehensive information about digital rights, such as:

• Resources to learn more about digital rights

• Practical guide to address a case with the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection and the Right to Information

• Practical measures to take in case of personal data violations.

• Technical measures to be taken in cases of email hacking.

• Presentations of Youth Led Digital Rights Talks series

• Career paths in the field of privacy and personal data protection.

After the hackathon on December 19, Tirana Digital Rights Festival participants presented the digital rights hub to their peers. Asked about their experience throughout the project, the participants considered it an opportunity to inform and raise awareness about the need for more digital literacy and a platform for empowering young people to play an active role in raising awareness about digital rights within the country. You can listen to the testimonials of our project participants here.

In addition to the digital rights hub, SCiDEV presented the findings of the study “Mapping of digital rights violations in Albania,” which introduced the audience to the data leaks in Albania over the years. After, the audience engaged in a fruitful discussion about the challenges and perspectives toward more acknowledgment of the importance of privacy and data protection in Albania.

About Tirana Digital Rights Festival

Tirana Digital Rights Festival is a project implemented by SCiDEV throughout June-December 2022 in the framework of the Tirana European Youth Capital 2022 Programme with the financial support of the National Youth Congress and the Municipality of Tirana. The project raised awareness of the importance of digital rights and engaged youth as digital rights promoters directly.

To accomplish this goal, SCiDEV launched a call for applications for young people aged 17-29 who wanted to deepen their knowledge of digital rights. Among 70+ applications, 25 young people from different fields of studies, such as social sciences, justice, computer science, and IT, were selected to become part of the project. Three experts in Albanian legislation, cybersecurity, and data protection support our young participants by providing mentorship and facilitating them to organize youth-led Digital Rights Talks.

The project began with Tirana Digital Right Talk: Youth Exploring Threats on Our Rights in the Digital World, held on August 21 in Tumo Tirana’s premises as a collaboration with the Germin organization and youth in the diaspora. SCiDEV experts introduced the participants of the Tirana Digital Rights Festival and  OriginAL Program to fundamental notions of digital rights and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union.

Throughout September, the mentors prepared the mentoring plans and presentations. On October 7, 8, and 10, SCiDEV implemented the Digital Mentoring Programme, a 3 -day length online mentoring series designed as an introductory session of the Albanian and European legal framework for digital rights and cybersecurity. Based on the knowledge gained during the sessions of the digital mentoring program and the participants’ research and professional interests, they selected one of the mentoring directions listed below:

  1. The Albanian legal framework on digital rights focused on the Albanian Law on Personal Data Protection and the Institution of Commissioner on the Right to Information and Protection of Personal Data.
  2. General Data Protection Regulation and personal data protection focused on European legislation on personal data protection and practical measures to increase privacy in internet navigation.
  3. Cybersecurity focuses on cyber threats and technical measures for risk mitigation.

In each mentoring group, the project participants had the opportunity to attend eight mentoring sessions and work in pairs to host a public event in the format of a youth talk, share the knowledge gained during the mentoring sessions, and promote digital rights to youth. These youth talks on digital rights series were titled Youth Led Digital Rights Talks.

There were 3 Youth Led Digital Rights Talks hosted in total, with topics inspired by crucial issues discussed during mentoring sessions. The first Youth Led Digital Right Talk, entitled “Privacy in Digital Era,” took place on November 21 by the GDPR and personal data protection group. During this session, the Tirana Digital Rights Festival participants presented the General Data Protection Regulation basics and how to evaluate the parameters of privacy offered by the most used digital platforms.

The Albanian Legal Framework on Digital Rights group hosted the second Youth Led Digital Right Talk on the topic “Challenges and Perspectives of Albanian Law on Personal Data Protection” on December 1. Together with ELSA Albania, participants of the Tirana Digital Rights Festival discussed the legal provisions and gaps in the Albanian Law on Personal Data Protection, as well as the approximation of Albanian law with the General Data Protection Regulation of the EU (GDPR).

The participants of the Cybersecurity mentoring group joined the Week of Integrity initiative. They hosted the third Youth Led Digital Right Talk with the topic “Integrity in the Digital Era.” The project participants presented the notion of digital ethics. They shared with the event’s participants facts on the digitalization process in the region, as well as practical tips on tackling cybersecurity threats.

The project culminated with the organization of the hackathon on December 17 at the premises of the Tulla Cultural Center, where one day, the participants of the Tirana Digital Rights Festival worked at the digital rights repository. The digital rights hub was presented at the final dissemination event on December 19 with the participation of Klajdi Priska, policy manager and project coordinator, at the National Youth Congress. In his welcoming marks, he praised the involvement and efforts of the participants of the Tirana Digital Rights Festival to raise awareness of digital rights. Throughout the discussion about data leaks in Albania and challenges and perspectives of promoting digital rights in Albania, there was consensus among the participants that there is still a lot of work to be done in raising awareness and promoting digital responsibility in society.

SCiDEV is determined to contribute towards the enhancement of digital rights in Albania and promote the principles of digital citizenship by raising awareness and creating synergy with local and regional actors with similar objectives.