A few hundred whistleblowers, investigative journalists, hacktivists and encrypters from all over the world stepped from trams and tubes on to Berlin’s Alexanderplatz on an icy day in March, all heading for the city’s conference centre for a global convention titled: Challenge Power! Building alliances against state and corporate secrecy, surveillance and censorship.
The Logan CIJ Symposium 2016 was organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism at City University in London, and Germany’s acclaimed weekly investigative magazine, Der Spiegel.
Noseweek editor Martin Welz was an invited speaker on a list that included WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and former NSA intelligence contractor Edward Snowden – both of whom spoke via Skype from their places of refuge – Assange from the Equadorian Embassy in London; Snowden from Moscow – since the US has flagged them as wanted men.
There was unanimous grave concern expressed about the ever-growing electronic mass surveillance, data-gathering and profiling of ordinary citizens around the world. Government secrecy, and the balance between national security and information privacy were key themes. Surveillance is no longer the little man spying through a long lens; it has become a highly efficient computerised exercise of gathering data from telephones, emails, social media and personal computers. This is used not only for the convenience of marketers but to label people for political and security targeting. Speakers raised the spectre of “predictive policing” and even arrest based on such labelling alone.
To listen to the Berlin panel in which Noseweek editor Martin Welz took part, click below: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwjazrixP1Q
To listen to the second Berlin conference panel discussion with David Mirza Ahmad, Alison Macrina and Julian Assange, click here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ic4z5Ztt-5k&list=PLS_7b8Iu1oBGXgCt1y3-i8lUD4gFI2u7S&index= (Assange appears 11 minutes in, but all are interesting!)