By Stephanie Schoenhoff For this week’s #FollowFriday, we wanted to highlight the three amazing individuals who were featured in CJFE’s panel discussion, “Should Surveillance Scare You?”. On June 17, Toronto Star national security reporter Michelle Shephard moderated a lively discussion with University of Ottawa Professor Wesley Wark, and Citizen Lab’s Christopher Parsons. The conversation focused on digital surveillance, which has become one of the largest threats to free expression we face today. This issue has drawn a great deal of attention over the past year, with the revelation that the Canadian government is indeed monitoring the communications of its citizens. We now know that intelligence agencies and private corporations alike have access to our personal data and digital communications, but only through the documents leaked by Edward Snowden. With the extreme secrecy surrounding our spy and police agencies, Canadians know almost nothing about how, why, and to what extent our communications are being collected. Over the course of the evening, our panelists answered questions such as: How is the government spying on us? Why is it keeping Canadians in the dark? Can this secrecy be justified? And finally, are Canadians stupid? And with that, here are three incredibly important people to follow in the field of digital surveillance and national security: Michelle Shephard In addition to being the Toronto Star's National Security reporter, and author of Guantanamo’s Child: The Untold Story of Omar Khadr, and Decade of Fear: Reporting from Terrorism’s Grey Zone. Michelle Shephard is also a member of CJFE’s Board of Directors. She was an associate producer on the Oscar nominated documentary Under Fire: Journalists in Combat, which explored the issue of the psychological toll on front line journalists. She has been a recipient of the National Newspaper Award three times, in 2002, 2009, and 2011. Her work has also been recognized by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, who honoured her for her “excellence in public engagement.” Follow Michelle Shephard on Twitter: @shephardm Website: http://www.michelleshephard.ca/wp/ Christopher Parsons A Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, Chris Parsons works in the interdisciplinary laboratory that focuses on research and development in ICTs, human rights, and global security. Parsons completed his Undergraduate and Masters Degrees in philosophy at the University of Guelph. Parsons recently completed his PhD in Political Science at the University of Victoria. Now, his interests involve how privacy is affected by digital surveillance, and the implications such corporate and government surveillance has on Western political systems. He is currently the project director of the Telecom Transparency Project. Learn more about the important initiatives he and his colleagues are working on to make the web a safer place for Canadians. Follow Christopher Parsons on Twitter: @caparsons Website: http://www.christopher-parsons.com/posts/ Wesley Wark With invaluable insights on the duty of decision-makers in the field of digital surveillance to protect digital rights for Canadians, Wesley Wark is a leading Canadian expert on issues relating to intelligence, national security and terrorism. He holds a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and an MA from Cambridge University. Currently, Wark is a visiting professor at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs after recently retiring from the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. He served for two terms on the Prime Minister of Canada’s Advisory Council on National Security (2005-2009) and served on the Advisory Committee to the President of the Canada Border Services Agency from 2006 to 2010. Website: http://www.uottawa.ca/media/experts-details-11991.html Visit CJFE’s live blog for quotes and questions from “Should Surveillance Scare You?”, or read our recap of the eight things you need to know about surveillance. Much thanks to each of our panelists, and everyone who came out to the event to contribute to the lively discussion.
Stephanie Schoenhoff is CJFE’s Research and Communications Assistant, currently completing her degree in Media and the Public Interest at Western University.
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