The Politics of Surveillance: Advancing Democracy in a Surveillance Society

The Politics of Surveillance: Advancing Democracy in a Surveillance Society

Universityof Ottawa

Ottawa,ON – May 8-10, 2014

EventSponsor: The New Transparency, a SSHRC Major Collaborative Research Initiative
EventHost:University of Ottawa

Thoughcivil society advocates, politicians and surveillance scholars have beendebating the issue for years, the revelations of Edward Snowden have broughtpublic attention to a powerful yet questionableinternational surveillance apparatus.The extraordinary growth of this system appears in conjunction with theexpansion of our online and mobile device-driven lives. How can users andcitizens protectthemselves in the face of a surveillance system that is bothconcealed and omnipresent? To what extent can the surveillance apparatus be resistedor democratically determined? Facilitating and achievingdemocratic oversightof an international surveillance system is a considerable challenge, and onethat raises old questions about the role of representative governance, nowrevisited in the context of digitalterrorist networks and the ‘Internet ofthings.’

Thisworkshop willdebate thevarious political, legal, social and technological strategies for challengingthe surveillance apparatus in Canada and internationally. The workshop focuseson means andstrategies, rather than threats and risks. It coincides withthe publication of the report “Transparent Lives: Surveillance in Canada.” Forfurther information see the Politics of Surveillance website:

The workshop will discuss significantexamplesof advocacy and activismand address some of the most importantquestions facing surveillance activists, such as:
· To what extent canwe render surveillance activities more transparent?
· How can the mediacontribute to surveillance activism?
· Iscurrent law an effective advocacy tool?
· Whatmakes a good privacy education initiative?
· How can we promoteusable/effective privacy-enhancing/anti-surveillance ICTs?
· What makes a goodanti-surveillance campaign?
· To what extent canthe surveillance apparatus be democratically governed?

Concrete outcomes of the workshop willinclude:
· Sharing lessons about effectivecounter-surveillance advocacy strategies, and
· Strengthening an emerging network of Canadianand international surveillance activists and scholars

The authors of selected papers will beincluded in the interdisciplinary workshop program that will also involvenon-governmental organizations, mediarepresentatives, privacy professionalsand others. There are limited funds to support participants to presentthe results of their research at this workshop. Plansfor the publicationof the selected papers are dependent on levels of interest, and availableresources.

For informal queries, please contact Andrew Clement,