REPORT: WEDF collaboration

On the 26th of May the JASON Institute Activities Committee organised a lecture in cooperation with the World Ethical Data Forum (WEDF), on trickle down technologies, privacy, and threat modelling data.

This event, hosted by members of both JASON and the WEDF discussed what exactly is, can, and should be done with the data collected from and about us. In doing so, it also touched upon the trickle down implications of the evolution and employment of powerful data technologies at the hand of tech companies and governments. Subsequently, diving into the effect of today’s consumer culture on issues ranging from personal privacy to collective democracy.

We were honoured to welcome two intriguing speakers for our event. First of all, Annie Machon. Ms. Machon is a Director of the WEDF and a former intelligence officer for the UK’s Security Service, MI5. She resigned to help blow the whistle on the crimes and incompetence of the British spies. She is now a media pundit, writer, and international public speaker on a wide variety of geopolitical issues, including the wars on terrorism, whistle-blowers, drugs, and the internet. Presenting besides Ms. Machon was Sander Venema. Mr. Venema is the Data Protection Officer for the WEDF and Director of software development company Asteroid Interactive based in The Netherlands. He is also an experienced software consultant/developer and author.

The event began with an alarming lecture by Ms. Machon, on the methods and risks of our current handling of both personal and professional data. She spearheaded the evening by explaining that the current level of awareness is anything but positive and the fact that urgent action is needed in order to change both mentality and responsiveness when it comes to both privacy and the protection of data. Having established the current situation and the dangers of it, Mr. Venema continued the conversation with how one can take a more hands-on approach. He pointed out the specific data one would need to protect and what data isn’t as vulnerable or important to protect against threats. In addition, he pointed out how one can basic steps to defend his or her data against threats, coming up with examples of account security and device security. Concrete examples being password managers and backups of your devices. He ended the presentation with examples one could use in order to maintain privacy during messaging and emailing. The examples he mentioned being, Signal and ProtonMail. The session was rounded off by offering the attendees the opportunity to ask questions, which resulted in the conversation continuing for some more on topics such as the promotion of awareness.

We would like to thank Ms. Machon and Mr. Venema for taking the time and sharing their expertise on this important topic. Lastly, we would like to thank the attendees of the evening for participating in this event!

In case you missed the event: we uploaded the Zoom session on our Youtube channel which can be watched below.

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