On Thursday, November 21, from 7:30am-8:45am, Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert will give a keynote speech at the Ideas – Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. The Big Thinking Lecture is titled, “After Snowden: What now for an open and free Internet?”

A recent stream of documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has shed light on the otherwise highly secretive world of cyber surveillance. The troubling elements of those disclosures include: that the US NSA collected in bulk the records of domestic US communications, possibly in violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments; and, that the NSA cracked, covertly shaped and deliberately weakened encryption and encryption standards worldwide which users rely on for secure communications.

Against the backdrop of these revelations, questions have been raised about the involvement of Canada’s own highly secretive intelligence agency, Communications Security Establishment Canada, with these and other programs like them – questions which so far remain unanswered.

Drawing from the research of the Munk School of Global Affairs’ Citizen Lab, which he founded and directs, Ron Deibert will explain why these revelations are likely to make matters worse, rather than better – at least in the short term – for a free, open and secure Internet. Remedying these short-term negative unintended consequences will require a fundamental rethinking of policies and practices among the liberal democratic countries, including Canada.

The lecture is open to the public but pre-registration is required (Register by November 15). The price is $20 for the public, but free for parliamentarians and the media.

The lecture is organized by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and sponsored by Google Canada.