Linux.conf.au 2014 – Day 1 – Keynote

Keynote – Dr Suelette Dreyfus

 The Surveillance state

  • Our state is out of balance, to much state power
  • Evolution to the Post-Snowden World
  • Era of the Whistleblower – Reveals information from inside an organisation
    • Doesn’t have to be a traditional employee (eg contractor)
    • about serious wrongdoing
    • to someone they believe can do something
  • Today’s public perception of whistleblowers
    • Most people think “normal” or “heroes”
    • http://whistleblowingsurvey.org
    • About 50% of population too much secrecy within organisations
    • 80% support people should be supported revealing inside information
    • 87% support someone should be able to go to the media
  • Why the change from traditional views which were much more anti-whistleblower?
    • Whistle-blowers, publishers, journalists, academics are harassed, stopped at borders. Live in exile from UK, USA, Australia. Live in Russia
What has the state been doing
  • Reached a state of security saturation
    • So much money being spent it is being wasted on WoW and stupid places
    • Extra money being spent produces no additional useful data
Case Study – The inside platform
  • Cradle to graduation state tracking of children in Victoria – she used “our children”
  • Move assesment to one-stop-shop
  • Track individual progress of children, to provide picture of child, tailor teaching
  • Learning disabilities, behavioural problems, all in one place
  • What about religious schools, will church attendance and attitude be recorded?
  • Who has access, how long retained, who will it be shared with? Kept overseas?
  • Lots of rules around heath data but none in this tender (hard to tell since tender not publicly available)
Sample of Hardware exploit hardware that can be installed on Dell servers
  • Examples for Dell servers
  • Multiple vendors targeted
  • Hacks for Phones and SIM cards
Status of The Surveillance State
  • Bulk Collection – Met, still to be cross linked
  • Ongoing Storage – Mostly Met
  • Capture of all state data – Not yet fully linked
  • Co-option of big-data players – Being worked on, some push back
  • Legal – Met
  • One-View of citizen across all interactions across lifetime – Getting closer
What you can do
  • “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary acts” – George Orwell
  • Get Political
  • Write privacy-enhancing software, write defensive/detection software for ordinary people
  • Get involved in NFPs that give tech support to journalists, NGOs and average citizens
  • If you work for the Govt, use your voice