Thursday, July 2, 2015

Welcome to Seminar 3 on Media Agenda-Building, National Security, Trust & Forced Transparency

On 8th July, Brunel University is hosting the third of six seminars in the ESRC-funded seminar series, DATA-PSST! Your seminar leader is Dr. Paul Lashmar.

We propose that we’re in a techno-cultural condition of increased, normalized and forced transparency. If liberal transparency opens up machinations of power for public and democratic inspection, radical transparency adds to this the private lives of citizens for inspection (as Edward Snowden’s leaks revealed). Where radical transparency is enacted without citizens’ knowledge or consent, we enter the domain of forced transparency, where resistance to surveillance is tantamount to guilt, and where choice, control and autonomy are stripped away

Led by Journalism, Security and Information theorists and practitioners, this seminar explores state attempts to manage public and political opinion of secretive national security and intelligence surveillance methods. We discuss implications of forced transparency for whistle-blowers, journalists, debates on national security issues and trust in government. 

 Our key questions include:
-       Should Snowden have revealed state surveillance methods? Is there a 'privacy-security' trade-off?
-       How, when secretive intelligence methods are leaked, do states attempt to manage public and political opinion?
-       How do such leaks, and subsequent state media management efforts, impact public trust?
-       How are national security whistle-blowers presented to the public: heroes, traitors, lunatics, narcissists or something else? What drives these representations, and what is their impact on public understanding of national security issues?
-       Do we have a healthy public debate on national security and intelligence issues in the UK? If not, what would improve its quality?
-       Are intelligence agencies sufficiently accountable to the public and politicians? If not, what should be done?

To encourage participants’ engagement, the seminar will function through position statements, roundtable discussions, and open discussion. Participants include:
o   Prof. Richard Keeble, Lincoln Univ.
o   Prof. Mark Phythian, Univ. of Leicester
o   Prof. Michael Levi, Cardiff Univ.
o   Iain Bourne, UK Information Commissioner's Office
o   Tom Gaffney, F-Secure
o   Tony Bunyan, Statewatch director, and investigative journalist (The Guardian)
o   Christopher Hird, former editor Head of Bureau of Investigative Journalism
o   Loz Kaye, Former Leader the Pirate Party, Founder Fightback Org UK
o   Jim Killiock, Open Rights Group
o  Birgitta  Jónsdóttir, International Modern Media Institute
o  Jamie Woodruff, Ethical hacker

If you haven’t participated before, have a scroll through this blog to see Position Statments from previous seminars. Also worth a look are the summaries and Policy Recommendations from Seminar 1 on Transparency Today: Exploring the Adequacy ofSur/Sous/Veillance Theory and Practice and Seminar 2 on Debating the Technical & Ethical Limits of Secrecy and Privacy.

To keep the conversation going, we encourage you to comment on each other's posts, too - especially those of you who can't make it to Brunel University on 8th July. 

For those of you who can make it, the agenda for the day is below.

The seminar will take place in the Antonin Artaud Building at Brunel University

09.45– 10.15                        Registration and refreshments. All seminars in the music room AA109

10.30 – 11.00                       Seminar series introduction: Vian Bakir and Paul Lashmar
Recap of main aims of Seminar Series & themes covered so far

11.00 – 12.30                       Roundtable 1: Two years on from Snowden.

12.30 – 13.30                       Lunch 1st floor room AA Building AA103

13.30 – 14.45                       Roundtable 2: Media agenda setting.

14.45 - 15.00                         Refreshments

15.00 – 16.15                       Roundtable 3: Trust and accountability.

16.15 – 17.00                       Discussion and final thoughts

17.30                                      End of seminar meal at the Lancaster Lodge Restaurant at Brunel

We look forward to welcoming you to Brunel.
Paul Lashmar
Vian Bakir

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