technologies of dissent – a2k4 – human rigths usa and EFF

Theresa Harris, Human Rights USA

Filtering is the best example of censorship. Eg. in Saudi Arabia or taking down videos of police brutality in Egypt. This software is provided by US companies.  How can you provide facebook to Iranians without it being used to arrest protestsors? should we provide this software or shouldn’t we?

Many have been dealing with this dilemma and the comapnies have not been held accountable. Comapnies claim that it is ‘business as usual’, and that they are not responsible for what those countries do with them.

We tend to focus on the technology and not the govt abuse of it. That is why the human rights framework is important. How is it different? It is a using a universal standard and not putting one country’s interest over another. Tying technology to progressive issues – eg. freedom of speech etc..

What are the steps to implement that? There could be voluntary codes of conduct for corporations. We could have domestic regulations. Putting this on an international treaty.

Eddan Katz, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Hilary Clinton’s speech was important bec it was well articulated. The freedom to connect helps transform society and that is described in Clinton’s speech. The US engages in practices of surveillance and the echelon system is also maintained. How do we then talk of the disruption of networks?

Censorship: gvt. providing money to develop technologies to express themselves.

Reservations about the speech: absence of freedom of speech framework and anonymity because of terrorism issues. EFF stands firm on the side of anonymity.

The issue of the protection of IP: technologies of surveillance are in place and being developed to apply copyright infringements.

Many companies are building the surveillance infra-structure. EFF proposes an instrumental approach: a direct action with the person causing harm; the capabilities approach; the ethics approach is not enough but we need the socio-technical impact. We can create an interesting balance between the human rights discourse and the technological infrastructure.

Read white paper called Surveillance Self-Defense International.