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Access logo.jpg
Formation 2009

Access Now (also known as is an international non-profit, human rights, public policy, and advocacy group dedicated to an open and free Internet.

Access Now has championed a number of digital rights issues since it was founded in 2009, including campaigns against internet shutdowns,[1] online censorship,[2] international trade agreements,[3] and government surveillance. Access has also supported Net Neutrality,[4] mobile phone tracking,[5] the use of encryption,[6] and thoughtful cybersecurity laws and regulations.[7] Access' campaigns target various stakeholders in support of its mission, including governments[8] or technology companies.[9] It also engages with telecommunications companies on a variety of issues, such as transparency reporting.[10]

Access Now's Digital Security Helpline offers real-time, direct assistance and advice to activists, independent media and civil society organizations.[11] The organization also runs the annual conference RightsCon, a multistakeholder event that features participants from civil society, tech companies, and users at risk. [12] The conference was first held in Silicon Valley in 2011, followed by events in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2012), Silicon Valley (2014), and Manila, Philippines (2015). The conference alternates between Silicon Valley and a key city in the Global South. [13] RightsCon 2016 will be held in Silicon Valley in March.[14]

Access was a finalist for the European Union's 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.[15]


Access Now's mission is to defend and extend the digital rights of users at risk around the world. By combining innovative policy, user engagement, and direct technical support, Access Now fights for open and secure communications for all.[16]


Access has staff distributed across the world, with offices in New York City, Tunis, Brussels, Washington, DC, Manila, and San José, Costa Rica. [17]

The Access Board is composed of president Andrew McLaughlin, treasurer Yvette Albderdingk Thijm, Esra'a Al Shafei, Ronaldo Lemos, Andrew Cohen, and secretary Brett Solomon, the founder and executive director of Access.[16]

The International Advisory Board includes several leading pioneers of the open Internet:

Access’ International Advisory Board is a collection of experts from across the human rights and technology sectors that provide advice to the organization. International Advisory Board members support the growth of Access’ network of grassroots partners, civil society organizations and organizational funders and provide perspective and counsel as issues arise.[16]

As of 2014, Access received approximately $2.6 million in funding.[18]


Access was founded by Brett Solomon and Cameran Ashraf in 2009, after the contested Iranian presidential election of that year.[19] During the protests that followed this election, Access played a noted role in disseminating the video footage which came out of Iran.[19]


  1. ^ Farrell, Paul. "Human rights groups condemn Nauru's criminalisation of political protest". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  2. ^ "Blog | Access". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  3. ^ "Blog | Access". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  4. ^ "Europe prepares to enforce its take on net neutrality". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  5. ^ Dwoskin, Elizabeth (2015-08-17). "Study Finds ‘Supercookies’ Used Outside U.S.". WSJ Blogs - Digits. Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  6. ^ "Encrypt All The Things". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  7. ^ "What Congress Can Do About Cybersecurity If CISA Fails". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  8. ^ "One more chance to stop mass surveillance in France!". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  9. ^ "Reinstate Politwoops accounts, global rights groups say". Fortune. Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  10. ^ "Transparency Reporting Index | Access". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  11. ^ "Tech | Access". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  12. ^ "RightsCon Summit Series". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  13. ^ "RightsCon Summit Series". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  14. ^ "RightsCon Summit Series". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  15. ^ Sakharov Prize 2010 - 9 nominations, retrieved 2015-04-30 
  16. ^ a b c "Access Now About". Access Now. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  17. ^ "Staff | Access". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  18. ^ "Funding | Access". Retrieved 2015-09-22. 
  19. ^ a b "#iranelection: The digital media response to the 2009 Iranian election". Retrieved 2013-05-18.