Mike Gerwitz

Free Software Hacker & Activist

NSA Spying on Americans Close Windows, Open Doors

Talks

LibrePlanet 2017

The Surreptitious Assault on Privacy, Security, and Freedom (LibrePlanet 2017)

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Privacy, security, and personal freedom: one cannot be had without the others. Each of these essential rights are being surreptitiously assaulted; only the most technical among us even know what to look for, let alone how to defend ourselves. Governments, corporations, and groups of ill-minded individuals are spying and preying upon both users and bystanders with unprecedented frequency and breadth. For those of us who do understand these issues, it would be irresponsible not to fight for the rights of others and continue to bring these assaults to light.

This talk will survey the most pressing issues of today, including topics of government surveillance and espionage; advertisers and data analytics; the Internet of Things; corporate negligence; public policy and the crypto wars; dangers of a non-free Web and untrusted, ephemeral software; pervasive monitoring; remote servers, services, and “the cloud”; modern vehicles; the fight against decentralization and free software; societal pressures and complacency with the status quo; and more.

Attendees will walk away with a broad understanding of these topics; an overview of mitigations; and dozens of resources for further research and discussion with others. No prior knowledge of security or cryptography are necessary.


LibrePlanet 2017

Restore Online Freedom! (LibrePlanet 2016)

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Imagine a world where surveillance is the default and users must opt-in to privacy. Imagine that your every action is logged and analyzed to learn how you behave, what your interests are, and what you might do next. Imagine that, even on your fully free operating system, proprietary software is automatically downloaded and run not only without your consent, but often without your knowledge. In this world, even free software cannot be easily modified, shared, or replaced. In many cases, you might not even be in control of your own computing—your actions and your data might be in control by a remote entity, and only they decide what you are and are not allowed to do.

This may sound dystopian, but this is the world you’re living in right now. The Web today is an increasingly hostile, freedom-denying place that propagates to nearly every aspect of the average users’ lives—from their PCs to their phones, to their TVs and beyond. But before we can stand up and demand back our freedoms, we must understand what we’re being robbed of, how it’s being done, and what can (or can’t) be done to stop it.