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[liberationtech] Commercialization of online spying talk @ Stanford 11/29

S Vivek vivekdse at
Mon Nov 26 11:48:04 PST 2012

Nov 29 at 4:30 pm @ Wallenberg Auditorium, Stanford University

SPEAKERS: *Bill Marczak* - Computer Science, PhD Student at UC
Berkeley & *Morgan
Marquis-Boire* - Security Engineer at Google

The so-called "Arab Spring" saw politically and economically
 disenfranchised citizens take advantage of new tools such as social  media
and smartphones to break the state’s monopoly on information, and  mobilize
mass protest. While governments were quick to employ familiar,  time-tested
mechanisms of repression against demonstrators in the  streets and main
squares, they fumbled at first in controlling this new  digital dissent.

Against an increasingly security-aware online community, the traditional
tools  of blocking, filtering, and wiretapping had become less effective.
 Nervous regimes turned to the largely unregulated $5 billion a year
 industry in Internet surveillance tools. Once the realm of the black
 market and intelligence agencies, the latest computer spyware is now  sold
at trade shows for dictator pocket change.

Activists and journalists soon found themselves the target of e-mails
promising  exclusive or scandalous information.  We analyzed messages
forwarded to  us by suspicious users, and found spyware products apparently
from Gamma International and Hacking Team, recognized players in the
surveillance  industry.  For the first time, we analyzed their products,
chasing  internet addresses and shell corporations across the globe.  As we
 published our findings, servers disappeared, and spyware was rewritten.

In this talk, we detail the cat and mouse game between authoritarian
 regimes and dissidents, as well as our ongoing efforts to map out the
 relationship between surveillance software companies and governments.

The event is open to public.   For further details, see:

Program on Liberation
Stanford University<>

C 149 Encina Hall
616 Serra St.
Stanford, CA 94305

Phone: 1-801-784-8357, that is 1-801-S Vivek's!

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