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A Nightmare Scenario: Technology and Democracy

When Jan 22, 2019
from 05:30 PM to 07:00 PM
Where Cripps Court Auditorium, Magdalene College (1-3 Chesterton Road)
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The Cambridge Forum on Geopolitics is pleased to invite you to the first of its Nightmare Lectures of the 2019 year, focusing on Technology and Democracy. From corporate surveillance to allegations of election hacking, the ever-evolving technological landscape continues to have profound impacts on politics and beyond. This all-star panel, including Big Brother Watch's Silkie Carlo, the Director of the University of London's Information Law and Policy Centre, Dr. Nóra Ni Loideain, the University of Cambridge's Prof. John Naughton and Prof. David Runciman with former Guardian Technology Editor Charles Arthur serving as moderator, will seek to address their personal nightmares on the effects technology could have on the functioning of contemporary democracy.


About the Speakers:

Charles Arthur: Charles Arthur is a freelance Tech Journalist and previously was technology editor at The Guardian. He has also written for The Independent and the New Scientist about technology, science and the environment.

Silkie Carlo: Silkie Carlo serves as the Director of Big Brother Watch. Before joining Big Brother Watch, she was the Senior Advocacy Officer at Liberty where she led a programme on Technology and Human Rights and launched a legal challenge to the Investigatory Powers Act. She previously worked for Edward Snowden’s official defence fund and whistleblowers at risk. She is a passionate campaigner for the protection of liberties, particularly in the context of new and emerging technologies. She has worked to uphold rights in the fields of state surveillance, policing technologies, big data, artificial intelligence and free expression online. Silkie is also an information security trainer and organises Cryptoparty London. She is the co-author of Information Security for Journalists.

Dr. Nóra Ni Loideain: Dr. Nóra Ní Loideáin is Director and Lecturer in Law of the Information Law and Policy Centre at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London. She is also a Visiting Lecturer on Data Privacy Law at King’s College London, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Humanities on the Media and Democracy Project, and Associate Fellow of the University of Cambridge Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (LCFI). She is the author of EU Data Privacy Law and Serious Crime (Oxford University Press), is an editor of the leading peer-review journal International Data Privacy Law (Oxford University Press) and was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) in 2018. Prior to her academic career, she was a Legal and Policy Officer for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions of Ireland and clerked for the Irish Supreme Court.

John Naughton: John Naughton is Emeritus Professor of the Public Understanding of Technology at the Open University, Director of the Press Fellowship Programme at Wolfson College and the technology columnist of The Observer. By background a systems engineer, he is an historian of the Internet whose main research interests lie in the network's impact on society. At CRASSH, he is co-director (with Sir Richard Evans and Professor David Runciman) of a five-year research project on Conspiracy and Democracy (2013–2018) and is co-director (with David Runciman) of a two-year research project on Technology and Democracy (2014–2017).

David Runciman: David Runciman is a Professor of Politics at the University of Cambridge's Department of Politics and International Studies, where he previously served as Head of Department. He hosts the popular Talking Politics podcast, and has published several books, including How Democracy Ends. He gave his Inaugural Lecture on "Political Theory and Real Politics in the Age of the Internet" on Tuesday 24th February 2015, which can be viewed online here. His research interests are in twentieth century political thought, particularly ideas of democracy and crisis, and the role of technology in contemporary politics. David's new book is How Democracy Ends, published by Profile. His recent Darwin lecture on Trump as conspiracy theorist can be seen here. David also writes regularly about politics for the London Review of Books.


About the Nightmare Series

In its Nightmare Series series, the Forum on Geopolitics invites leading geopolitical thinkers and practitioners to reflect upon their own personal 'nightmare' scenarios: the greatest potential disasters they see on the horizon of the next five to ten years. Speakers outline the precipitating event, or series of coincident circumstances that they dread, because of the cascade of political, military, economic and social consequences that would follow. They then reflect on the strategies and mindsets that could prepare governments and other key stakeholders to prevent, mitigate or cope with the expected consequences. Previous lectures in this series have included ‘President Trump: the First 100 Days’, held in October 2017 with the Brookings Institution’s Dr. Thomas Wright, and ‘The Day 1.5 Billion People Lost Their Water’ with Prof. Paul Kennedy.

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