PrivChat

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.

PrivChat is free to attend. If you get value out of these events and you like Tor, please consider becoming a monthly donor. Reliable, predictable support is the best way to ensure Tor remains strong and stable. Our goal with PrivChat is to build a two-way support system. You will get access to information from leading minds thinking about and working on privacy, technology, and human rights. And the Tor Project will be more agile in our development as a result of your support, allowing us to respond more rapidly to increasing surveillance and censorship threats (and host more PrivChats)!


Chapter #5 - Protection against Pegasus

9/27 ∙ 17:00 UTC ∙ 13:00 Eastern ∙ 10:00 Pacific ∙ @torproject YouTube channel

Watch

Every year, governments, law enforcement agencies, militaries, and corporations invest billions of dollars into building and buying malicious spyware--software designed to silently infiltrate a user's device and allow attackers to view the contents without detection.

This year, the Pegasus Project revealed that users of this kind of spyware, known as Pegasus and built by the NSO group, had targeted the phones that belong to thousands of people in more than 50 countries, including business executives, politicians, journalists, and human rights activists.

In this edition of PrivChat, join Likhita and Etienne Maynier of Amnesty International and John Scott-Railton of Citizen Lab to discuss:

  • What individuals, journalists, activists, and human rights defenders can do to protect themselves against sophisticated spyware?
  • What kind of organizations can we support to help stop this abuse?
  • Who is working on safer, more private software that we can trust?

Roger Dingledine, Co-Founder of the Tor Project, will join us as our host and moderator.

Host

Roger Dingledine

President & Co-Founder, the Tor Project

Roger Dingledine is president and co-founder of the Tor Project, a nonprofit that develops free and open source software to protect people from tracking, censorship, and surveillance online. He works with journalists and activists on many continents to help them understand and defend against the threats they face. Roger was chosen by the MIT Technology Review as one of its top 35 innovators under 35, he co-authored the Tor design paper that won the Usenix Security "Test of Time" award, and he has been recognized by Foreign Policy magazine as one of its top 100 global thinkers.

Participants

Likhita

Researcher/Adviser - Technology and Human Rights, Amnesty International

Likhita works as a Researcher and Adviser for Amnesty International's Technology and Human Rights Programme. At present, she is involved in researching targeted surveillance and internet shutdowns. She has researched online hate speech against women and minority populations in India. Previously, she also researched and exposed challenges faced by human rights defenders in India and worked extensively on hate crimes in the country. Likhita holds a master's degree in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action from Sciences Po.

Etienne Maynier

Amnesty International's Security Lab

Etienne Maynier (he/him) is an activist and researcher who investigates the impact of targeted surveillance on NGOs and human rights defenders. He is currently working as Technologist in the Amnesty International's Security Lab doing technical research.

John Scott-Railton

Senior Researcher, Citizen Lab

John Scott-Railton is a Senior Researcher at Citizen Lab (at The University of Toronto). His work focuses on technological threats in civil society, including targeted malware operations, cyber militias, and online disinformation. His greatest hits include a collaboration with colleague Bill Marczak that uncovered the first iPhone zero-day and remote jailbreak seen in the wild, as well as the use of Pegasus spyware to human rights defenders, journalists, and opposition figures in Mexico, the UAE, Canada, and Saudi Arabia. Other investigations with Citizen Lab colleagues include the first report of ISIS-led malware operations, and China's "Great Cannon," the Government of China's nation-scale DDoS attack. John has also investigated Russian and Iranian disinformation campaigns, and the manipulation of news aggregators such as Google News. John has been a fellow at Google Ideas and Jigsaw at Alphabet. He graduated with a University of Chicago and a Masters from the University of Michigan. He is completing a Ph.D. at UCLA. Previously he founded The Voices Projects, collaborative information feeds that bypassed internet shutdowns in Libya and Egypt. John's work has been covered by Time Magazine, BBC, CNN, The Washington Post, and the New York Times.

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Editions

PrivChat with Tor Chapter #4 - 25th Anniversary of Onion Routing

With Roger Dingledine, Nick Mathewson, Paul Syverson. Hosted by Gabriella Coleman.

Celebrate 25 years of onion routing with Tor! May 31, 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the first public presentation of onion routing in Cambridge, UK at Isaac Newton Institute's first Information Hiding Workshop. You're invited to celebrate this special moment with us to talk about the beginnings of onion routing, and how this idea became Tor, and how the Tor Project eventually came to be. We’ll be joined by Paul Syverson, one of the authors of the first onion routing paper, together with the Tor Project co-founders Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson. We'll reflect on the first days of the onion routing network at the U.S. Naval Research Lab (NRL). (Back then, onion router connections went through five nodes instead of Tor's current three-nodes design!) It's no secret that the concept of onion routing originated at NRL (it's on our history page), but there is so much more we want to share about how Tor started and where we've come in the last 25 years.

PrivChat with Tor Chapter #3 - Tor Advancing Human Rights

With Alison Macrina, Berhan Taye and Ramy Raoof. Hosted by Ed Snowden.

The Tor Project's main mission is to advance human rights and freedoms by creating and deploying free and open source anonymity and privacy technologies. People use our technology, namely the Tor network and Tor Browser, in diverse ways. Tor is used by whistleblowers who need a safe way to bring to light information about wrongdoing -- information that is crucial for society to know -- without sharing their identity. Tor is used by activists around the world who are fighting against authoritarian governments and to defend human rights, not only for their safety and anonymity, but also to circumvent internet censorship so their voices can be heard. Tor allows millions of people to protect themselves online, no matter what privilege they have or don't have. For our third edition of PrivChat, we are bringing you some real-life Tor users who will share how Tor has been important for them and their work to defend human rights and freedoms around the world.

PrivChat with Tor Chapter #2 - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Censorship Circumvention

With Felicia Anthonio, Vrinda Bhandari, Cecylia Bocovich and Arturo Filastò. Hosted by Cory Doctorow.

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 hault connection 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?

PrivChat with Tor Chapter #1 - Online Privacy in 2020: Activism & COVID-19

With Carmela Troncoso, Daniel Kahn Gillmor and Matt Mitchell. Hosted by Roger Dingledine.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit most countries around the world, many governments looked for technology to trace the spread of the virus in order to fight the pandemic. Contact tracing practices and technologies raised many questions about privacy, particularly: is it possible to trace the virus while respecting people's privacy? Now amidst the uprising in the U.S. against systemic racism, followed by protests all around the world, the central question about contact tracing, privacy, and surveillance becomes critical. Can the technology used for tracking the virus be used to track protesters? Will it be? For our first ever PrivChat, the Tor Project is bringing you three amazing guests to chat with us about privacy in this context.