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Hundreds of activists, advocates, journalists, researchers, donors, and just about everyone else converged into the second-largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea – the city of Stockholm – to discuss power and access online. 10 p.m. sun aside, this year’s Stockholm Internet Forum (#SIF17 for easy tracking of the event on Twitter) was stronger than ever before and saw its participants and panellists talk about some real hard and somewhat depressing questions.

After all, the Arab Spring is long gone and the initial feel-good effects of the internet have also worn out. Add in the recent political changes that have been shaping the world (or rather tearing it apart), the failure to deal with online harassment and trolls despite years of push on social media networks and we kind of expected a sombre event. While there may have been less fun and fewer jokes, it also ensured that we stayed on the difficult topics and tried to get some new solutions to old problems, looking at them somewhat differently thanks to a varied participant list that became part of the SIF community.

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