Edward Snowden and the debate on surveillance versus privacy

In June 2013, NSA contractor Edward Snowden met with journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen Macaskill and film-maker Laura Poitras in Hong Kong.

The whistleblower gave them documents which proved the existence of a massive scale surveillance system that allows the American NSA and other intelligence and security agencies to gather information on citizens without judicial supervision.

While in the USA and in Germany the major media outlets reported extensively on the issue, in Italy there hasn’t been a proper public debate on privacy and surveillance, as – except for the work of handful of journalists – the media chose not to cover the implications of such revelations.

On the other hand, politics is quick to use the fight against terrorism to push for reforms that might limit people’s privacy, a fundamental human right that is currently under attack all over the world.

Without a proper balance between surveillance and privacy, the freedom of citizens is at risk.

Without a proper public debate, it is hard to understand what is at stake.

For the first time in Italy, such debate will take place including the voices of the people who made the information public: Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who revealed the scope of the NSA surveillance practices, will be joining the conversation, as well as the independent film-maker Laura Poitras. Poitras recently won an Academy Award for the documentary Citizenfour, where she shows the meetings between the whistleblower and the journalists, and a Pulitzer prize for her journalistic work on the story.

The human rights implications will be explored by Ben Wizner (ACLU), Snowden’s lawyer, and Andrea Menapace, who directs the newly-born Italian Coalition for Civil Rights and Freedoms.

Organised in association with Italian Coalition for Civil Rights and Freedoms (CILD) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Speakers:

Edward Snowden (via Google Hangout)

Laura Poitras (via Google Hangout)

Ben Wizner (ACLU)

Andrea Menapace (CILD)

Simon Davies (Privacy International)

Introduction: Patrizio Gonnella (CILD)

Moderator: Fabio Chiusi

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