Creative Storytelling for Data Rights: An Introductory Episode to the Series

“What if there was a mythical monster that sucked our biodata instead of our blood?” “Can you imagine the CEO’s reaction when he realized the whole country’s personal data was stolen from his company’s databases?” “What if we could send messages back in time and warn ourselves about the dangers of losing our privacy?”

These are some of the questions that emerged when we asked teams of fiction writers, activists, lawyers, comic book artists, comedians, audio engineers, and illustrators to think about how we could get more people interested in data privacy and digital rights. Over the past 6 months, Internews’ ‘ADAPT’ Project, in collaboration with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Internet Bolivia, Coding Rights, Paradigm Initiative, and Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo have produced a series of speculative audio fictions. These stories are meant to entertain, inspire, amaze, educate, and activate – and we hope that they let listeners experience the urgency of data privacy as a basic civil right.

In this introductory episode, we interview key collaborators from Brazil, Ecuador, Nigeria, and Bolivia who contributed to our four creative audio fictions projects. We discuss why we decided to produce audio fictions, and some of the challenges and opportunities around collaborations between activists and creatives.

We invite you to listen to the series and enjoy. Projects include:

La Culpa Es De Graciela (Graciela is to Blame) is a story written by playwright Sebastián Bravo Montenegro and produced in partnership with Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo in Ecuador. This story follows Graciela on her first day working at a major financial institution as their social media manager. Graciela learns the hard way how important it is that institutions have adequate safeguards for personal data and that the government enforces laws and regulations! The story is inspired by a true story, the 2019 data leak of almost every Ecuadorian citizen’s personal data.

Você Está Lendo Minha Mente? (Are You Reading My Mind?) is a story co-written by Joana Varon and Lucía Egaña Rojas and produced in partnership with Coding Rights. In this story, Sofia enters a library in Rio de Janeiro looking for an Octavia Butler book but ends up finding a portal to interact with her future self. That is when she is told about the future surveillance capabilities of the Tech Brotherhood and the seeds of resistance that need to be planted.

Datachiri 2.0 is a story written by Marianne Díaz Hernández based on the comic book written by Alejandro Barrientos and illustrated by Joaquin Cuevas in collaboration with Internet Bolivia. This story is set in 2040 in La Paz, Bolivia, in a society where the government has largely dissolved, and people rely on devices provided for free by an organization called ‘the Congregation.’ There are rumors of a mythological monster that is able to hack the Congregation’s networks to feed on biodata.

Crime and Prejudice is a series of three radio dramas produced by Paradigm Initiative. The series follows the online controversy when the police arrive at Dr. Ewem’s door to arrest her based on information that could only have been obtained from the company Moontech. There is an uproar and backlash on Nigeria twitter. When #boycottmoontech starts to trend, we see how Moontech responds.


Hosts: Laura Vidal and Laura Schwartz-Henderson
Interviewees: Sebastián Bravo Montenegro, Ricardo Chica Reino, Marianne Díaz Hernández, Cristian Leon, Joana Varon, and Khadijah El-Usman
Script-writing: Laura Vidal and Laura Schwartz-Henderson
Sound Design and Mixing: Jimmy Garver
Editing: Elena Cazes
Music: Charles Antoine
Executive Producers: Laura Schwartz-Henderson and Laura Vidal
Sponsored by Internews and Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington DC