Revisited: Network Surveillance, Workshop with Julian Oliver

03 Nov, 2015

Revisited: Network Surveillance, Workshop with Julian Oliver

We were thrilled to host Julian Oliver's Network Surveillance workshop in collaboration with the School of Information on October 30th. Julian explained the incredible risks to our privacy that we accept each time we use the internet. Foregrounding how the internet is not the commons, but rather more like a "meet and greet at the fountain in the shopping mall," which is owned by corporations, he described the geopolitical concerns we might have with its physical layer — when we copy our information from server to server through cables, are the countries our data is passing through safe and net neutral? Julian then highlighted the reason we should care about protecting our privacy, which he termed the "selective revealing" of ourselves to the world. That is to say, not only should we be safe from having our identities and credit cards hacked, we should also have the autonomy to choose what others know about us. Increasingly, as we become more aware of cookies and targeted advertising, we realize this is not the case and have to self-censor to create this curated identity. At a university, where our research depends on our intellectual curiosity, such an impulse is detrimental.

Julian finally introduced participants to a variety of tools to make their use of wired and wireless devices safer. From setting up VPN and TOR on participants' computers, to learning how to encrypt email and use alternative video, phone, and messaging services that do not give our information to the government, Julian offered a suite of options that allow us to use the internet on our own terms. As Julian noted, "If privacy is not granted to you by your government, you need to assert it."

Check out the great photos below!

2015 Network Surveillance