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PRISM and Mass Surveillance: a Threat to Democracy and Economic Welfare?

Mass Internet surveillance is now an undisputed fact. But the Snowden revelations show that we face unaccountable indiscriminate surveillance of Internet users on a global scale. This attack on privacy has potentially devastating implications for our understanding of democracy.

But it's not just the foundations of democracy that are under attack. Recent revelations of a systematic weakening of encryption systems by US and UK security agencies undermine fundamental Internet security. These are the basics of trust on the Internet. They are the reason we trust our bank, our credit card payments or Virtual Private Networks not to leak this information to criminals, blackmailers or governments.

So what is the impact of this on democracy? How can an information economy thrive when online information might not be secure? And what can we all do about it?


• Tom Watson MP is one of the leading Labour voices on the Internet and surveillance over the last few years.

• Paul Johnson is the Deputy Editor of The Guardian who's orchestrated his paper's coverage of the Edward Snowden revelations. 

• Javier Ruiz is Campaigns Director of Open Rights Group

• Nick Pickles is Director of Big Brother Watch

• Wendy Grossman (chair) is a journalist and blogger on technology and the Internet

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  • samuel

    I found the meeting very interesting.
    Suggested venues ( used by Skeptics, Science Cafe) - The Caroline of Brunswick on the Level (pub with upstairs room seating 60) and Latest Music bar 14-17 Manchester St, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 1TF (50-60 or so seats in bar but with tables. Both these venues have projectors and sound but there can be some slight noise issues.

    September 25, 2013

  • val c.

    Very good meeting, extremely informative.
    Venue - try Hanover pub, Queens park road. A bit out in the sticks but buses direct to the station (81) in the evenings, and from the Marina to the Unis (23) all the time. Stop outside.

    September 25, 2013

  • Javier R.

    Thanks to everyone who came last night. We will organise another talk in a couple of months. If you know of good venues please ping me on twitter @javierruiz or post here. Ideas for themes or speakers also welcome.

    September 25, 2013

  • Steffi T.

    Sorry, couldn't make it, other things intruding :-(

    September 24, 2013

  • Chris P.

    Hi - do we need to bring the "ticket"?

    September 24, 2013

    • Ed J.

      Hi Chris, it'll be fine just to turn up. So bring anyone else you think's interested too!

      September 24, 2013

    • Chris P.

      thanks ;-)

      September 24, 2013

  • val c.

    The usual four (or so) white Anglo-Saxon males on the panel. But due to the importance of the topic I shall be there anyway!

    September 21, 2013

  • alan c.

    mmm. Having trouble printing the ticket, will be there +1 regardless

    September 20, 2013

  • alan c.

    Looking forward to seeing you

    September 20, 2013

  • justin a.

    Hope to hear an interesting debate.

    September 20, 2013

  • carl

    looking forward to this

    September 19, 2013

  • Jon B

    Look forward to hearing points on this topic.

    September 18, 2013

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