PUBLIC EVENT: Censorship, Surveillance, and Corporate Transparency

WHO: Google’s Dorothy Chou in conversation with international experts

DATE: Wednesday April 3, 2013

TIME: 4:30-6:30pm, followed by a reception.

PLACE: Room 109, Annenberg School of Communication, 3620 Walnut St., Philadelphia

Since mid 2010 Google has been publishing data about the requests it receives from governments to remove content or hand over user data. This regularly updated Transparency Report reveals alarming trends: Government surveillance is on the rise, everywhere. Even worse, a large number of government censorship and surveillance requests are of dubious legality even according to the host countries’ own laws.  In a world where citizens increasingly rely on digital products and services owned and operated by private corporations for their civic and political lives, the implications for human rights and democracy around the world are troubling.

Dorothy Chou, a Senior Policy Analyst who leads Google’s efforts to increase transparency, will discuss Google’s Transparency Report with Rebecca MacKinnon, Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation and author of Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom.  They will then be joined by a panel of international experts who will react to the report and discuss the question of whether accountable governance in any society is possible without sufficient transparency and accountability in how companies respond to government censorship and surveillance demands.  They are:

  • Ronaldo Lemos, Director Center for Technology and Society at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) School of Law in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • Hu Yong, Associate Professor, Peking University School of Journalism and Communication
  • Malavika Jayaram, Fellow, Center for Internet and Society, Bangalore and Annenberg CGCS
  • Gregory Asmolov,  PhD Candidate, London School of Economics; Global Voices “RuNet Echo” contributor and Russian social media expert

This event is part of the cross-disciplinary, university-wide “New Technologies, Human Rights, and Transparency” project funded by the university’s Global Engagement Fund and hosted by Annenberg’s Center for Global Communications Studies in partnership with Wharton, PennLaw, Engineering, and the School of Arts and Sciences.  The project aims to examine the relationship between government and corporate power in today’s digitally networked world, bringing together research partners from across the university and around the world to develop a methodology to evaluate and compare the policies and practices of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies as they affect Internet users’ freedom expression and privacy in a human rights context.

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