Transborder Café: What Does Big Brother Want with Us?
Historically, it has been obvious when an enemy crosses a border to start an invasion. In the digitalised society of today, this is no longer the case; barbed wire fences do not help to keep out the emerging threats. Today, superpowers, who wrestle for global influence, do not merely focus on their military might — world domination of digital resources is the new battleground and is not simply China vs. the USA — it is as much Huaweii vs. Apple or Google.
When Russian FSB-agents stops Norwegians on the border, they are not only interested in passport numbers or addresses. They demand to see the travellers unique electronic ID, their telephones IMEI-number. Has our digital ID become more important than traditional documents?
Wherever we go, we leave a trace from our digital devices, but we cannot call the authorities and ask them to show us which documents related to us have been stored. Our digital trace has been spread all over the world and can be found in enormous computer servers; hidden deep into remote forests, in mountain tunnels or in sandy deserts. Most national governments no longer have control over your data, leaving you to ask the questions: Can this data be used against me? Does it change the choices I make in my life? Who is controlling my digital existance?
Recently, a Norwegian minister was fired, partly because he had taken an official telephone to a country which is not considered an ally of Norway. Is this paranoia, or is it the first warnings of a future digital regime of encryption and cyber-suspicion? How can an insignificant digital life suddenly be of interest to the superpowers of the world?
A person who knows more about the topic than most; Runa Sandvik is an expert on hacking and data security and has been the data security manager at the New York Times. Thomas Nilsen, editor of the Independent Barents Observer, a news service that Russian authorities have found it necessary to restrict for Russian readers. From the Russian project Roskomsvoboda, Artem Kozluk, who among other things, is fighting against the type of internet censorship that the Independent Barents Observer is experiencing in Russia. To give a picture of the surveillance regime on the Norwegian-Russian border, we have invited NRK journalist and author dealing with the topic of spy bases at the border, Bård Wormdal.
Moderated by VG journalist and Russia expert,
Nora Thorp Bjørnstad.
|Thursday 13th Feb|