Vancouver, February 11, 2015 – Digital communications technologies have great benefits for freedom of expression and the right to information. Governments seek to spread their adoption because of the economic benefits they bring but at the same time they want to maintain control over them. Governments are increasingly adopting mass surveillance technologies to monitor social media and broader internet usage. Some governments use customized spyware systems to target activists, human rights defenders, journalists, demonstrators, NGOs and political opponents. In some countries, the Internet is substantially censored to prevent access to information, and discussion, of politically and culturally sensitive issues.
This panel will examine the ways the right to freedom of expression and the right to information are violated in the name of security. Topics for discussion will include internet and cellphone privacy, mass surveillance in Canada and beyond, and detecting government spyware.
David Christopher – David Christopher is the Communications Manager of OpenMedia.ca and blogs regularly for the organization. David is from the west of Ireland and holds a degree from Trinity College Dublin, where he studied History and Political Science. He worked in communications in New Zealand, Northern Ireland and Scotland before moving to Vancouver, Canada.
Don Wright – Don Wright is an activism coordinator with Amnesty International Canada, based at the Vancouver Office. Amnesty’s global work is deeply rooted in defending freedom of expression and the full range of rights described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Josh Paterson – Josh Paterson joined the BCCLA as its Executive Director in January 2013. Josh’s legal career has focused on protecting some of the most marginalized people in Canada from human rights violations, civil liberties restrictions, discrimination and environmental injustice. Prior to joining BCCLA, he was the Aboriginal and Natural Resources Lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law, where he led that organization’s highly effective legal work protecting the rights of people in northern and coastal BC. Outside of his legal practice, he is a founding board member of the Vancouver Public Space Network, where he has served for several years as the coordinator for Surveillance and Security issues.