Roma & Sinti rights, resistance and facial recognition: In Conversation

April 19, 2021, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm CEST

This webinar, run by the Reclaim Your Face campaign, will feature a conversation with activists/experts Roxanna-Lorraine Witt and Benjamin Ignac. The topic of the webinar will be to explore the connections between Sinti and Roma rights and digital technology and data, in particular the rise of facial recognition. The webinar will likely be of interest to engaged in EU policy, human rights and digital rights, social justice, anti-discrimination or activism.

The Reclaim Your Face campaign is a European-wide movement against harmful and discriminatory facial recognition, and other forms of biometric mass surveillance (technologies that use our bodily and behavioural data to watch, track and analyse us constantly as we try to live our lives). We fight uses of these technologies to surveil populations, due to the massive threat that they pose to everyone’s human rights. In particular, we know that racialised people in Europe already face the biggest brunt of state and private surveillance, as well as targeting, harrassment and over-policing by law enforcement. Now, developments in technology – such as AI and biometrics – are making the targeting of racialised communities cheaper, faster, and even more intrusive.

Roma and Sinti in Europe make up more than 12 million people. Yet despite being Europe’s largest ethnic minority, Romani communities face discrimination and exclusion in many different ways. Sinti and Roma voices and expertise are not represented in EU processes and decision-making. And Sinti and Roma representation still tends to focus on victimhood and tokenism, rather than empowerment, inclusion or on the multi-faceted lived experiences of Roma and Sinti people. This webinar will explore the already strong intersections between digital rights work and Roma and Sinti rights work, and how we can work proactively together to prevent the deployment of facial recognition against Romani communities, by calling for a ban on biometric mass surveillance across Europe.

Roxanna-Lorraine Witt

is Director of save space e.V. and Co-Founder of Romblog Online Academy. Her work includes research on radicalization in digital environments and gaming communities, as well prevention and education work. She has worked as a consultant on human rights and digitalization for multiple international organizations.

Benjamin Ignac

is Public Policy alumnus from the University of Oxford and currently a Research Fellow at the Open Society Roma Initiatives Office. He works on assessing the opportunities and threats of the digital revolution for Roma people in Europe.

Ella Jakubowska

is Policy and Campaigns officer at European Digital Rights (EDRi). She works on issues of biometric technologies and biometric mass surveillance. She is one of the co-ordinators of the Reclaim Your Face campaign.

Joining details:

  • Please provide your email address through this form in order to sign up for the webinar. Your email address will be kept securely, will be deleted after the event and will not be used for any other purpose than for providing information relating to this webinar, nor will it be shared with any third parties.
  • You will be sent a link to join the webinar on the morning of the event. The webinar will be run via Big Blue Button (BBB) and will be recorded. The deadline to sign up for the webinar is 10am on Monday 19th April. If you do not sign up before this time then we unfortunately cannot guarantee that you will receive the link to join.
  • To stay up to date with the Reclaim Your Face campaign in Europe, you can subscribe to the mailing lists run by European Digital Rights (EDRi).
  • You can support the Reclaim Your Face campaign by signing the official EU petition to ban biometric mass surveillance.
  • Webinar attendees will be able to educate themselves about Romani groups prior to the webinar through a reading list which will be shared by the webinar organisers.

For any questions about the webinar, please contact

ReclaimYourFace is a movement led by civil society organisations across Europe:

Access Now ARTICLE19 Bits of Freedom CCC Defesa dos Direitos Digitais (D3) Digitalcourage Digitale Gesellschaft CH Digitale Gesellschaft DE Državljan D EDRi Electronic Frontier Finland Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights Homo Digitalis IT-Political Association of Denmark IuRe La Quadrature du Net Liberties Metamorphosis Foundation Panoptykon Foundation Privacy International SHARE Foundation
In collaboration with our campaign partners:

AlgorithmWatch AlgorithmWatch/CH All Out Amnesty International Anna Elbe Aquilenet Associazione Luca Coscioni Ban Facial Recognition Europe Big Brother Watch Certi Diritti Chaos Computer Club Lëtzebuerg (C3L) CILD D64 Danes je nov dan Datapanik Digitale Freiheit DPO Innovation Electronic Frontier Norway European Center for Not-for-profit Law (ECNL) European Digital Society Eumans Football Supporters Europe Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) Forum InformatikerInnen für Frieden und gesellschaftliche Verantwortung Germanwatch German acm chapter Gesellschaft Fur Informatik (German Informatics Society) GONG Hellenic Association of Data Protection and Privacy Hellenic League for Human Rights info.nodes irish council for civil liberties JEF, Young European Federalists Kameras Stoppen Ligue des droits de L'Homme (FR) Ligue des Droits Humains (BE) LOAD e.V. Ministry of Privacy Privacy Lx Privacy Network Projetto Winston Smith Reporters United Saplinq Science for Democracy Selbstbestimmt.Digital STRALI Stop Wapenhandel The Good Lobby Italia UNI-Europa Unsurv Vrijbit Wikimedia FR Xnet

Reclaim Your Face is also supported by:

Jusos Piratenpartei DE Pirátská Strana

MEP Patrick Breyer, Germany, Greens/EFA
MEP Marcel Kolaja, Czechia, Greens/EFA
MEP Anne-Sophie Pelletier, France, The Left
MEP Kateřina Konečná, Czechia, The Left

Should your organisation be here, too?
Here's how you can get involved.
If you're an individual rather than an organisation, or your organisation type isn't covered in the partnering document, please get in touch with us directly.