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

Larry Diamond ldiamond at
Tue Nov 27 00:07:33 PST 2012

Thanks. I will introduce them and chair this. 

Can you tell me where we stand on the Winter schedule? 

----- Original Message -----

From: "S Vivek" <vivekdse at> 
To: liberationtech at 
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2012 11:48:04 AM 
Subject: [liberationtech] Commercialization of online spying talk @ Stanford 11/29 

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 Technology, 
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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