Audio: Surveillance After Snowden

PEN Canada is pleased to present the audio recording of our Surveillance After Snowden panel discussion which was held in partnership with the Toronto Public Library as part of the 30th Freedom to Read Week.

Surveillance After Snowden

On Feb. 28, 2014, PEN Canada hosted Surveillance After Snowden, a panel discussion of challenges in striking a balance between freedom of expression and national security. This year’s discussion clearly struck a chord with the public as more than 150 people filled the atrium of the Toronto Reference Library on a frigid Friday night.

Media critic Jesse Brown moderated a robust discussion that built off the collective experiences of the panelists: Citizen Lab director Ron Deibert, Globe and Mail investigative reporter Colin Freeze, and Wesley Wark, former national security advisor to the Prime Minister.

The panelists laid the groundwork for the discussion by outlining the knowns and unknowns of surveillance in Canada. One key point was the collection of metadata – information about how, where, when, and with whom, you communicate – which the panelists agreed was even more revealing than the content of communications. They traced the culture of mass surveillance to post-9/11 security demands, a growth in technological abilities, and a change in our digital behaviours.

Panelists and audience members alike raised new questions including who Canada’s version of Edward Snowden might be, why the Canadian media have not covered surveillance stories closely, and how does this surveillance impact freedom of expression.

We are pleased to present the full audio of the event, please join us at the next one!


Audio recorded by Arman Aghbali from the Scope at Ryerson.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Solomon via Twitter