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Liberty and Surveillance: What should governments and private corporations know about you?

Whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA hacked the internet as a key part of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence program. Since these revelations in 2013, legislation has largely served to give a secure legal backing to what was previously an undisclosed, covert and sometimes informal national surveillance program. In the private sphere, we are now on the brink of an AI revolution, where machine learning combined with big data will yield unprecedented efficiencies and capabilities.

Privacy and security are both areas of major importance to civil society, so we must ask when does national security surveillance go too far and erode our civil liberties?

Tom Simpson argues that the key issue with both public and private sector surveillance is not a trade-off between privacy and security or privacy and consumer satisfaction rather, the key issue is the centralisation of power that big data enables, and the effects that this has on our freedom. The speech also explores ways to make sense of this politically and outline what policy options are available.