[DATACTIVE event] Democracy Under Siege: Digital Espionage and Civil Society Resistance, July 4



July 4th, 20.00 hrs @spui25, (TICKETS HERE)

The most recent US elections, during which hackers exposed political parties’ internal communications, revealed the devastating power of digital espionage. But election meddling is only one aspect of this growing phenomenon. From Mexico to Egypt and Vietnam, human rights organizations, journalists, activists and opposition groups have been targeted by digital attacks. How can civil society defend itself against such threats?

The DATACTIVE project (University of Amsterdam) invites you to hear from leading experts on questions of digital espionage, cybersecurity and the protection of human rights in new technological environments. This public event aims to provide a global view of digital threats to civil society and discuss what can be done to fight back.

Ron Deibert (University of Toronto) will present the work of the Citizen Lab, which has pioneered investigation into information controls, covert surveillance and targeted digital espionage of civil society worldwide. He will be in conversation with Seda Gürses (KU Leuven) and Nishant Shah (ArtEZ University of the Arts/Leuphana University).


Ronald Deibert is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. The Citizen Lab undertakes interdisciplinary research at the intersection of global security, ICTs, and human rights. Deibert is the author of Black Code: Surveillance, Privacy, and the Dark Side of the Internet (Random House: 2013), as well as numerous books, chapters, articles, and reports on Internet censorship, surveillance, and cyber security. He is a former founder and principal investigator of the OpenNet Initiative (2003-2014) and a founder of Psiphon, a world leader in providing open access to the Internet.

Seda Gürses is an FWO post-doctoral fellow at COSIC/ESAT in the Department of Electrical Engineering at KU Leuven, Belgium. She works at the intersection of computer science, engineering and privacy activism, with a focus on privacy enhancing technologies. She studies conceptions of privacy and surveillance in online social networks, requirements engineering, software engineering and algorithmic discrimination and looks into tackling some of the shortcomings of the counter-surveillance movements in the US and EU.

Nishant Shah is the Dean of Graduate School at ArtEZ University of the Arts, The Netherlands, Professor of Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media at Leuphana University, Germany, and the co-founder of the Centre for Internet & Society, India. His work is informed by critical theory, political activism, and equality politics. He identifies as an accidental academic, radical humanist, and an unapologetic feminist, with particular interests in questions of life, love, and language. His current preoccupations are around digital learning and pedagogy, ethics and artificial intelligence, and being human in the face of seductive cyborgification.

This event is hosted by Spui25 and sponsored by the European Research Council (ERC) and the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis (ASCA).