Bard College broadcasts Snowden

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Story by Breanna SillStaff writer

Of the general public, 68 percent do not believe privacy laws in the United States are good enough at protecting the rights of Internet users, according to asecurelife.com.

This is the main focus of the Hannah Arendt Center’s eighth annual fall conference, “Why Privacy Matters: What Do We Lose When We Lose Our Privacy?”, which will be livestreamed to University libraries from Bard College.

Edward Snowden, American privacy activist and former CIA employee who was forced to leave the country after leaking classified National Security Agency documents, will be a keynote speaker.

  The conference will be streamed live by Murray State’s University Libraries. The Hannah Arendt Center is located on the campus of Bard College in Hudson, New York. Snowden will appear live from Russia where he sought asylum from the United States.

Following Snowden’s talk will be a presentation from Robert Litt, second General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Litt recently spoke out at a panel discussion, “Whistleblowing and America’s Secrets: Ensuring a Viable Balance,” hosted by the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies of John Hopkins’ school of arts and sciences in Washington, against the sharing of personal information in a public setting after the New York Times published the names of three covert CIA officers in a story.

“It’s not only them that’s at risk,” Litt said in the discussion. “It’s their families and their contacts when they served in covert capacities overseas who are now going to be put at risk.”

Philip Siblo-Landsman, library assistant of University Libraries, said it is important for people to attend the talk to find out more about how privacy breaches can affect them personally.

“We’re not always aware of everything that is going on when we are using our devices,” Siblo-Landsman said. “We are just so connected that there are issues of privacy. Different companies are able to track different kinds of data and they can use that data to gauge what they’re going to advertise to you on your phone, when you’re on a particular website. Facebook does that especially.”

By attending the stream of this conference, he said, students can gain a knowledge of what exactly can be seen from them online.

Siblo-Landsman said another important factor of attending this conference is to hear opposing views on the collection of this data, for example from Snowden and Litt.

“One thing is you might be looking at geolocation of someone and that might be important to track a person and if that person says a key word like ‘bomb’ or ‘gun’ or something like that, well then, maybe we want people to have the NSA snooping on people because that might actually relate to a very important event,” he said.

The live stream of the conference will begin at 9 a.m. on Oct. 15 and 16 in Waterfield Library Rooms 210 and 211. This location is subject to change due to demand of space.

Students who wish to attend the lectures are asked to sign up online through the University Libraries website. Students are also welcome to come and go as they please during those days.