Recordings

Mass surveillance is setting fire to the future of the internet

Edward Snowden; Ben Wizner; Chris Saghoian

At the SXSW conference 2014 in Austin (Texas), Edward Snowden addressed the tech community, encouraging them to play the role of ‘firefighters’ who have the ability to craft solutions and make society safer. Answering questions submitted via twitter, he reflects on differences between data mining done by companies and governmental surveillance, the role of private contractors to the development of policies, and steps everyone can take to counter mass surveillance.

An obligation to report

Laura Poitras

Laura Poitras talks about “Citizenfour”, her documentary about Edward Snowden, the NSA, and surveillance that won the `Academy Award´. Yes, this is what professionals also call the Oscar - it is now official that the arts have, after many years of activists risking their sanity, freedom and their families, joined the new clash of cultures on the sensitive and progressive side. During a Q&A at the 52nd New York Film Festival, she recalls her transformation from a documentary journalist into an activist during the production of the film that narrates her stay with Glenn Greenwald and Snowden in a hotel in Hong Kong.

Citizenfour won the 2014 Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Documentary and the International Documentary Association award for best documentary feature. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for 2015. (our first update from February, 2015: “It has won the Oscar in this...

Keywords: Laura Poitras

On Trust and Feudal Security in the Computer Age

Bruce Schneier

Part 1 of our Series: “Recovering the Web after Snowden”

“Surveillance is the business model of the internet.” In the beginning oAf June 2013, Edward Snowden´s disclosures on the ubiquitous spying system of the NSA make global headlines. Two weeks later, Bruce Schneier, an internationally renowned security technologist and author, is giving this outstanding talk to Google engineers. They listen closely as Google is described as one of the “feudal security giants” of our time. They are not aware that Schneier was also one of the few citizens of the United States to be entrusted with the entire trove of Snowden´s documents. Glenn Greenwald had asked him to help out on technological details and secret service jargon.

Human society runs on trust. We all trust millions of people, organizations, and systems every day — and we do it so easily that we barely notice. But in any system of trust, there is an alternative, parasitic, strategy that involves abusing that trust. Making sure those defectors don’t destroy the cooperative systems they’re abusing is...

Keywords: Bruce Schneier

What McLuhan would have laughed about - Understanding Media, CERN and the Jasmin Revolution, an interview with Derrick de Kerckhove

Leo Findeisen, Derrick de Kerckhove

What would Marshall McLuhan think about the way the internet has evolved during the last decades? This interview followed days of presentation and discussion at the Ars Electronica symposium on the topic of Origins in 2011, the year of Marshall McLuhan’s 100th anniversary. There, lead scientists of the Large Hadron Collider experiment at CERN, Geneva, explained their technical set-up, their middle- and long-term research goals and discussed their possible significance with other scientists and philosophers. Derrick de Kerckhove sits down with Leo Findeisen to discuss how Marshall McLuhan might have reacted to the state of the art in experimental physics. McLuhan has been one the founders of Media Theory as we know and de Kerckhove has been his long-time assistant back in the days.


Topics discussed:

* How would you explain the relevance of McLuhan´s work to a fourteen-year-old, a member of the Always-On generation that lives a digital life at the current stage of the information revolution?

* Would McLuhan have laughed about the fact that the World Wide Web was a technical spin-off from...

"The trick for me has been to keep standing" - Pamela Jones of Groklaw

Pamela Jones

Groklaw is slang for “to really grasp the world of law”, or in Pamela Jones’s words, a “place where lawyers and geeks could explain things to each other and work together, so they’d understand each other’s work better.”

In this document, a lady well-known in the free world, Pamela Jones, delivers a short message of “thank you” on behalf of thousands of computer geeks and lawyers swarming around their unique online platform, groklaw.net. This sound file is a rare piece of digital history as one will otherwise only find drawings of her or texts by her, she had learned the hard way to be very protective of her privacy.

In 2003, Jones was working as a paralegal, a research assistant, at an US law firm. Being technically minded, she was able to help out fixing problems with the IT infrastructure and was proficient in using both operation systems, Microsoft and Linux. Next to researching cases she had also joined the emergent blogger movement when a major attack on the entire model of Free Software and its legal security was launched: The infamous...

Keywords: Pamela Jones

Jérémie Zimmermann - An Overview on ACTA and Issues in 2012

Jérémie Zimmermann, Markus Beckedahl

In a lengthy and dense, yet very understandable interview, two young European intellectuals from Paris and Berlin are dealing with one issue of endangered digital freedom after the other. They count amoung the most knowledgable and experienced analysts of the interplay between political, technical, artistic and private engagement, a crucial quality in these kinds of cultural conflicts. Their ongoing work can be visited at laquadrature.net and netzpolitik.org (in German language). The prolific information video about ACTA that is mentioned can be watched here.

A Xmas Concert - Artists speak out at Occupy London

Thom Yorke, Robert del Naja (3D), Occupy Movement, Occupy London

In a rare interview scenario for internationally acclaimed artists, Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Robert de Naja (3D) of Massive Attack are talking about their views on the recent, global phenomenon of the Occupy Movement. They have been playing a Thank-You-concert for the Protagonists of Occupy London on December 6th, 2011, at a newly squatted venue called “Bank of Ideas” that had been used by the bank UBS before. Thom Yorke speaks of the documentary “Inside Job” to have opened his eyes about the conceptual architecture of complexity that the finance systems has construed for itself and believes that most politicians do not understand more than he and are merely told to “mop up” the...

Clay Shirky - Salant Lecture on Freedom of the Press 2011

Clay Shirky, Alex S. Jones

In October 2011, the well-known internet expert Clay Shirky, a professor of New Media at New York University, has given a remarkable lecture on the state of Freedom of the Press in Western democracy. He makes a comparison between the technical, territorial, political and legal implications of the Watergate scandal, the recent publications of Collateral Murder and the documents of Cablegate that were published online by Wikileaks. He concludes that they are inherently different and builds his argument on an analysis of incidents long after the Gutenberg revolution in the 17th century where publications outside of a national territory could not be controlled by its legislation. The future implications for the protection of Freedom of Speech are, however, in no way encouraging in Shirky´s view, he holds that national regulation of Free Speech in democratic countries is at stake. ” (…)  this is a dangerous moment for free speech. Not because we know how nation...

Occupy Cal - Daniel Ellsberg in Berkeley, November 2011

Daniel Ellsberg, John Hamilton

Daniel Ellsberg is a well known figure in the United States of America as he leaked the so-called Pentagon Papers to the press which lead to the Watergate affair later and forced President Nixon to resign. 

He joins students that have just been re-occupying the Sprowl Plaza at the University of California Berkeley, a significant place in the history of the country as the protests against the Vietnam War started exactly there.

Ellsbeg comments might be surprising for most listeners: he confesses that he had lost hope in a betterment of the over-all political situation, but when he say the group decision making of the students who voted for which decisions to take in a democratic manner, he says to have regained hope.

He recalls the recent chain reaction of events that lead to the very situation he is interviewed in: Bradley Manning, the man accused of leaking the Cablegate files, being in detention, the documents themselves inspiring the changes in Tunesia and Egypt. These, in turn, gave rise to the Occupy Movement which spread to Berkeley, where the generational change started in the 1960ies. Ellsberg assertains that a contemporary youth...

Internet Freedom: Interview with Birgitta Jónsdóttir

Birgitta Jónsdóttir

In this interview, Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jónsdóttir tells the Council of Europe about the background of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), and the importance of freedom of information.