Ifẹ Thompson appears at Digital Freedom Fund's Annual Strategy Meeting in Berlin

Wednesday 13 March 2024

Ifẹ Thompson, third-six pupil at Garden Court Chambers, hosted two sessions as part of the Digital Freedom Fund (DFF)'s strategy day in Berlin, Germany.

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The first session focused on Ifẹ's work as a Movement Lawyer in her criminal defence practice. She expanded on her recent work in defending Insulate Britain protestors, and the court’s trajectory in centering deterrence that has led to harsher sentences for those engaging in alternative forms of protest.

Ifẹ also developed and expanded on how she brings principles rooted in black liberatory practices into her courtroom advocacy and submissions when defending her Black clients targeted by the state and those unfairly criminalised.

She drew on her linguistic justice work where she has instructed AAVE (African American Vernacular English) linguists to present historical and factual interpretations of words the police have sought to have criminalised to the Courtroom, her work on raising systemic racism as a mitigation point in sentencing and her digital rights work on how she has made submissions around unlawful data protection law interference as a ground to exclude evidence. Lastly, she concluded on the legal observing and advocacy work done through her work at Black Protest Legal Support for racial justice protests including Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Free Palestine. 

In the second session, Ifẹ focused on 'Anti-Racist approaches to Digital Rights Issues', noting the different ways technology is being used to further aid surveillance, control and criminalisation. She drew on the UK police’s prolific social media surveillance and mining of Black art, including rap, to support their criminalisation of Black young people through prosecutions and criminal behaviour orders, and the expression of radical Black thought on places like Twitter/X, which is being unfairly and problematically criminalised under the Malicious Communications Act in the UK.

As part of her talk, she also highlighted the development of BLAM UK’s new project to tackle the rise of the use of body-worn cameras by teachers in schools using digital rights. 

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