Citizenship in the Age of Digital Surveillance

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Friday, September 18th, 2020

Friday, September 18, 20202:00PM - 3:30PMOnline Event, Online Event
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Pan-Asian Seminar Series: The Political Life of Information


“The Political Life of Information” series at the Asian Institute brings together scholars, activists, artists, and other practitioners to reflect on practices of surveillance, data visualization, population management and identification, news and journalism, and the social aspects of algorithms from a perspective based in Asia, but speaking to a broad audience interested in the political ramifications of media and information technology.

As our inaugural event, Citizenship in the Age of Digital Surveillance will consist of a panel of three experts who will speak about the socio-technical dimensions of digital spying and the contested sphere of privacy shaping contemporary activism and journalism in Asia. Speakers will focus on counter-surveillance work done at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, and how this research and public outreach has been engaged by privacy and free speech advocates.

Chinmayi Arun is a resident fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School and an affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center of Internet & Society at Harvard University. She has served on the faculties of two of the most highly regarded law schools in India from 2010 onwards, and was the founder Director of the Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University Delhi. Chinmayi has been consultant to the Law Commission of India and member of the Indian government’s multi stakeholder advisory group for the India Internet Governance Forum in the past.

Irene Poetranto is a Senior Researcher for The Citizen Lab and a Doctoral Student in Political Science at the University of Toronto. Her primary research interest is on cybersecurity policy development in the Global South, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. She obtained her Master’s degree in Political Science and Asia-Pacific Studies from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of British Columbia.

John Scott-Railton is a Senior Researcher at the Citizen Lab, University of Toronto. His work focuses on technological threats to civil society, including targeted malware operations and online disinformation. His greatest hits include a collaboration with colleague Bill Marczak that uncovered the first iPhone zero-day and remote jailbreak seen in the wild, as well as the use of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware to human rights defenders, journalists, and opposition movements around the globe. Other investigations with Citizen Lab colleagues include the first report of ISIS-led malware operations, and China’s “Great Cannon,” the Government of China’s nation-scale DDoS attack. John has also investigated Russian and Iranian disinformation campaigns, and the manipulation of news aggregators such as Google News. John has been a fellow at Google Ideas and Jigsaw at Alphabet. He graduated with a University of Chicago and a Masters from the University of Michigan. He is completing a PhD at UCLA. Previously he founded The Voices Projects, collaborative information feeds that bypassed internet shutdowns in Libya and Egypt.


Chinmayi Arun
Resident Fellow of the Information Society Project, Yale Law School; affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center of Internet & Society, Harvard University; the founder Director of the Centre for Communication Governance, National Law University Delhi

Irene Poetranto
Senior Researcher, The Citizen Lab

John Scott-Railton
Senior Researcher, The Citizen Lab

Francis Cody
Director, Dr. David Chu Program in Contemporary Asian Studies; Associate Professor, Asian Institute and Department of Anthropology (UTM)

Main Sponsor

Asian Institute


Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies

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