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Meet Meredith Whittaker (@mer__edith), president of Signal, Artificial Intelligence (AI) expert, and a 2024 Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF) speaker. 

Speaking of the social implications and privacy risks AI poses to wider society, Whittaker said, “Signal is working within the tech industry ecosystem, against it. It is trying to create something that interrupts the data pipelines.” 

She has more than 17 years of experience in the world of technology. Prior to joining Signal, she was a Minderoo research professor at New York University and served as the faculty director of the AI Now Institute, which she co-founded. She worked at Google for over a decade, during which she founded its Open Research Group and co-founded M-Lab, the world’s largest source of open data on internet performance.

Today, she heads the Signal Foundation, which oversees the popular messaging app Signal. Its end-to-end encryption ensures private and secure messaging on one’s smartphone and desktop. Beyond encryption, Signal users can set messages to disappear after a preferred time, and the platform collects no data on its users beyond their phone numbers. 

Digital technologies are transforming the world, and authoritarian regimes increasingly rely on them, posing great threats: government surveillance and censorship of online platforms, intimidation by Internet trolls, and hacking of personal data. However, technologies like Signal help to undo that damage. Today, more than 40 million people use Signal to safely communicate, including many human rights defenders and dissidents. Signal affords them a secure platform to meaningfully and safely advance their work. 

In her tenure, Whittaker has advised the White House, the Federal Communications Commission, the City of New York, the European Parliament, and many other governments and civil society organizations on privacy, security, artificial intelligence, and Internet policy. She also recently completed a term as senior adviser on AI to the chair of the US Federal Trade Commission.

On June 3-5, she will take the Oslo Konserthus stage to share her expertise with the OFF community. Register today for the 2024 OFF to hear from Whittaker firsthand. Stay tuned for additional speaker spotlights and details about the Forum.

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You can find additional details about the event at oslofreedomforum.com, and regular updates on our X and Instagram

If you are interested in sponsoring the Oslo Freedom Forum, please contact [email protected]. If you are interested in attending as a member of the media, please contact [email protected].

If you are interested in bringing your family to the OFF Camp for Kids, please contact [email protected] by April 15. The OFF Camp for Kids is an interdisciplinary human rights camp that includes fun activities, sports, and educational programming around the city of Oslo.