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Kritikos Lecture by Bruce Schneier

Security guru Bruce Schneier to speak on “Internet, Security, and Power”

Do you ever have the feeling you are being “watched?” If not, perhaps you should. According to security expert Bruce Schneier, who recently teamed up with The Guardian to review the Snowden documents, NSA surveillance through the Internet is far more robust and pervasive than most of us have ever imagined. In today’s hyper-connected society, with our ever-increasing dependence on the Internet, are we making ourselves increasingly more vulnerable? Or does our connectivity actually make us more secure? Who knows what about whom, and how is this information being used? Where does trust fit into this societal equation?

Schneier will explore these issues of power and security in his talk, “Internet, Security, and Power,” as this year’s Kritikos Professor. The Eugene lecture will take place on Wednesday, May 28th at 7:30 p.m. in the EMU Ballroom. Schneier will speak again in Portland on Thursday, May 29th at 7:30 p.m. at the UO in Portland, White Stag Block, 70 NW Couch St.

As Schneier puts it, “the Internet affects power, and power affects the Internet.” And, he goes on to say, “While we first thought that the Internet would empower the powerless, the reality is much more complicated. Both government and corporate power dominate today’s Internet even as distributed groups gain in power.” The bottom line, says Schneier, is that “the Internet has become essential to our lives, and it has been subverted into a gigantic surveillance platform.” Schneier argues that the solutions are political ones, and that the best approach to Internet security is to accept, as users, that there is a certain amount of risk involved.

Schneier will examine the various ways power manifests itself through the Internet, and explain how security allows the powerful to remain so, while at the same time permitting the powerless to thrive. On the Internet, data equals power, and the dynamic between the various forces is the fundamental societal issue of the Information Age.