Guest course: Snowden and the Internet.

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A tension exists in the relationship between individuals and governments. Since the Snowden revelations it is public that the (National Security Agency (NSA), sometimes even in collaboration with friendly foreign security agencies, engages in immense surveillance practices, by which electronic communication, computers, systems, and phones are compromised at an immense scale. The questions arises: how do they do that and is it still possible to circumvent surveillance, and if so, how?

Modern technological developments in ICT and internet gave the government instruments that significantly disturbed the afore mentioned balance between government and individual. The same holds for the information position advantage that large companies like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, or for example shopping chains with customer loyalty cards, have by continuously acquiring information about their members/customers. Maybe you have heard the news about a large retailer in the USA that knew about the pregnancy of an internet user even before she herself (or her parents) knew, just by automatically analyzing the gathered information about shopping habits.

The Snowden documents still reveal methods and practices from the security agencies, sometimes on a daily basis. This has spurred developments of secure privacy enhancing technology for communication (TOR, BITCOIN) that inhibit governments to perform surveillance or interfere "by design." In essence, this is a software technology arms race.

New technological developments keep shaping the world this race takes place in. We now live in a cloud world. New paradigms as "software defined networking" and "openflow" are applied. This course will give an overview of those technologies, the revelations of Snowden and the question whether new technology is part of the solution, or actually making the problem worse. Almost all interaction between citizens and government/industry/society is now electronic, while at the same time the citizens lose faith in this electronic medium.

Papers to study:


Pointer to course where this is a guest lecture:

Name   Fundamentals of Data Science
Academic year 
date/time fo my talk
17 sept, 17h00-19h00
Catalog number
Master Information Studies
1 (period 1)
Coordinator of course
Andrew Brown <andygrahambrown@gmail.com>