a conversation about tech, human rights, and internet freedom brought to you by the Tor Project
PrivChat is a fundraising event series held to raise donations for the Tor Project. Through PrivChat, we will bring you important information related to what is happening in tech, human rights, and internet freedom by convening experts for a chat with our community.
Chapter #2 - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Censorship Circumvention
Every year, internet censorship increases globally. From network level blocking to nation-wide internet blackouts, governments and private companies have powerful tools to restrict information and prevent connections between people. Many people, groups, and organizations are doing innovative work to study, measure, and fight back against internet censorship--and they are helping millions of people connect more regularly and safely to the internet. Despite these successes, we're faced with well-funded adversaries that have billions of dollars to spend on censorship mechanisms, and the arms race is ongoing. The second edition of PrivChat with Tor will be about the Good, the Bad and the Ugly that is happening in the front lines of censorship circumvention. In a world where censorship technology is increasingly sophisticated and bought and sold between nations, so is our creativity to measure it and build tools to bypass it, as well as the willingness of people to fight back. But is it enough? What are the barriers facing the people and organizations fighting for internet freedom?
Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, and journalist. He is the author of RADICALIZED and WALKAWAY, science fiction for adults, a YA graphic novel called IN REAL LIFE, the nonfiction business book INFORMATION DOESN’T WANT TO BE FREE, and young adult novels like HOMELAND, PIRATE CINEMA and LITTLE BROTHER. His latest book is POESY THE MONSTER SLAYER, a picture book for young readers. His next book is ATTACK SURFACE, an adult sequel to LITTLE BROTHER. He maintains a daily blog at Pluralistic.net. He works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is a MIT Media Lab Research Affiliate, is a Visiting Professor of Computer Science at Open University, a Visiting Professor of Practice at the University of North Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in Los Angeles.
Felicia Anthonio works with Access Now as Campaigner for the #KeepItOn Campaign, a global campaign that fights against internet shutdowns. The #KeepItOn coalition is made up of over 210 organizations across the world. Before joining Access Now, she was a Programme Associate at the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) where she coordinated the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX), a continental network of free expression organisations in Africa. Felicia led the AFEX’s campaigns and advocacy work on freedom of expression including the safety of journalists, access to information and internet freedoms and digital rights with particular focus on policy reforms that are inimical to the enjoyment of freedom of expression (offline and online). She is a 2019 Fellow of the African Internet Governance School (AfriSIG). She holds a Master’s Degree in Lettres, Langues et Affaires Internationales from l’ Université d’Orléans, France and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French and Psychology from the University of Ghana.
Vrinda Bhandari is a litigating lawyer in New Delhi, India, and specialises in the field of digital rights, technology, and privacy. She has been involved in litigation relating to the biometric identity project in India (Aadhaar), the contact tracing app developed by the government (Aarogya Setu), the restoration of internet in Jammu & Kashmir, and challenges to the constitutionality of the surveillance regime and the criminal defamation provision in India. Vrinda has also advised and represented clients in cases involving website blocking, defamation, and sedition. Vrinda is a Rhodes Scholar, who graduated from the University of Oxford with a Masters in Law (BCL) and a Masters in Public Policy (MPP), and received her undergraduate law degree from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore.
Cecylia is a software developer at Tor Project where she focuses on developing tools to circumvent censorship and empowering all users to access the Tor network. She graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2018, and continues to participate in the Cryptography, Security, and Privacy (CrySP) Research Lab as a visiting researcher. As a graduate student, she researched censorship circumvention techniques that resist powerful machine-learning capable censors, as well as the usability of privacy tools. She currently serves as an advising director of Open Privacy, a non-profit organization working on the development of privacy technologies that empower communities and enable consent. She also helped initiate, organize, and currently serves as the chair of the artifact committee for the journal Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PoPETs), the goal of which is to support and promote the public distribution of source code and data sets for privacy research.
Arturo co-founded the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) in 2011 and has since served as its Project Lead and core engineer. He previously worked with the Tor Project as a developer and created a number of other free software projects that promote human rights, such as GlobaLeaks. He also co-founded and served as the Vice-President of the Hermes Center for Digital Human Rights. Arturo studied Mathematics and Computer Science at Università di Roma “La Sapienza”.
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