Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Are you being watched?

On a Security Cam stakeout at Dundas Square with two U. of Toronto researchers last Sunday

(Un)Lawful Access? Cyber-surveillance, Security & Civil Liberties:

Experts & Advocates Speak Out


Jacob Appelbaum (Tor) Lisa Austin (Faculty of Law, U of T), David Lyon (Surveillance Studies Centre, Queen's U), Dave McMahon (Bell Canada) Chris Prince (Office of the Privacy Commissioner) & Micheal Vonn (BC Civil Liberties Assoc.)


5-7PM, FREE!

Munk School of Global Affairs

University of Toronto

I Devonshire Place

Followed by wine & cheese reception.

Join moderator Dr. Ron Deibert for an insightful and lively discussion into some of the most pressing social issues surrounding our rights and freedoms as cyber-surveillance becomes an ubiquitous part of

our lives, on-line and off.

Digitally mediated surveillance is an increasingly prevalent, but still largely invisible, aspect of everyday life. As we work, play and negotiate public spaces on-line and in familiar physical places, we produce a growing stream of personal digital data of interest to unseen others. CCTV cameras hosted by private and public actors survey and record our movements in public space, as well as in the workplace. Corporate interests track our behaviour as we navigate both social and transactional cyberspaces, data mining our digital doubles and packaging users as commodities for sale to the highest bidder. Governments continue to collect personal information on-line with unclear guidelines for retention and use, while law enforcement increasingly use internet technology to monitor not only criminals but activists and political dissidents as well, with worrisome implications for democracy. Panelists will address the practical outcomes of theses issues, including pending policy matters such as lawful access legislation, the proposed Canada-US security perimeter and the security legacy of mega-events like the G20. They will address the tension between the clamour for security and the sanctity of civil liberties, questioning the benefits of trading one for the other. Panelists include:

Jacob Appelbaum is an independent computer security researcher, a core member of the Tor project and a Staff Research Scientist at the University of Washington. He is known for representing Wikileaks at the 2010 HOPE hacker conference, and his subsequent repeated targeted by US law enforcement agencies, who obtained a court order for his Twitter account data. Appelbaum has been an active member of the Cult of the Dead Cow hacker collective since 2008 and is co-founder of the San Francisco hackerspace Noisebridge.

Lisa Austin is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. She is an expert in privacy law, focusing on challenges to privacy rights and interests presented by state information-sharing practices. She writes about traditional privacy paradigms that focus on direct state surveillance or the protection of secrecy and how they intersect with “digital dossiers” and emergent forms of “dataveillence.”

Ron Deibert is a leading cyber-security researcher who received international renown by helping uncover a global cyber-espionage network. He is Director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global  Affairs. He is co-founder of Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary research and development hothouse working at the intersection of the Internet, global security and human rights. He is also co-founder and a principal investigator of the OpenNet Initiative and Information Warfare Monitor projects.

David Lyon is the principal investigator for The New Transparency Project and director of Queen's University Surveillance Studies Centre. He is a pioneer in surveillance studies, which he has been researching since the 1980s. He is the author of many books, including his latest, Identifying Citizens: ID Cards as Surveillance (Polity 2009), and a founding editor of the e-journal Surveillance & Society. He is a leading researcher in national ID cards, aviation security, and surveillance ethics as well as in promoting the cross-disciplinary and international study of surveillance.

David MacMahon is a Senior Engineer with the Complex Security Program at Bell Canada. He has an honours degree in computer engineering from the Royal Military College of Canada and has spent the last 25 years with the military, intelligence and security community both in the public and private sectors. Dave has been engaged in the spectrum of operations from special-forces, drug interdiction, counter-terrorism, information warfare, counter-espionage, and foreign intelligence. He evangelizes proactive cyber defence, universal systems theory for risk management, national estimates on the cyber threat and culture jamming of traditional secure networks.

Christopher Prince is an analyst with the Legal, Policy and Parliamentary Affairs branch of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. His focus has been national security programs and governance, surveillance technologies and international laws around interception of private communications. He received his Master’s from McGill’s School of Information Studies in 2001.

Micheal Vonn is Policy Director for the BC Civil Liberties Association, where she has worked since 2004, shortly after being called to the B.C. bar. Prior to law, she worked in education and policy for AIDS Vancouver. Vonn is a sought-after speaker in the area of privacy and access to information. She is an Advisory Board Member of Privacy International, has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia and is currently an Adjunct Professor at the UBC School of Library, Archival and Information Studies.

(Un)Lawful Access: Cyber-surveillance, Security and Civil Liberties is part of Cyber-surveillance in Everyday Life: An International Workshop. The event and the workshop are part The New Transparency: Surveillance and Social Sorting, a research project funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.

For information contact Kate Milberry: kate.milberry@utoronto.ca or visit

(Media Release)

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