Interviewees

Photograph of Aditi Gupta talking and gesticulating. She sits on a grey couch in front of a white wall, wearing a black shirt.

Aditi Gupta

Human Rights and fundamental freedoms are the main topics Aditi discusses in our interview. She clarifies how human rights work and what happens when a government decides to suppress even one of them. With this focus she goes into detail about the role of the business of mass surveillance concerning privacy related human rights violations. Moreover we talk about the role of drone warfare in the fight against terrorism.

For her work at Global Partners Digital (GPD) Aditi focuses on the interconnection between human rights and security. In 2016 she developed a training series on cybersecurity and human rights. In the same year Aditi led a workshop on the human rights impact of drones at the net-politics conference Re:Publica in Berlin. Prior to her position with GPD she has been working in counter-terrorism and on the implications of counter-terror security policy. Beyond that she also focused on the interconnection of race, education, and securitisation.

Aral Balkan

Aral speaks about the impact of globally active companies, such as Google. Their business model relies heavily on collecting and analysing the data of their users. They look at how their customers use their services, what exactly they do and when. He also talks about how individual approaches of “I have nothing to hide and therefore nothing to fear” will affect our human rights and, in the long run, our democracy.

Aral is the founder and lead designer of ind.ie. This small company creates independent technologies for the daily use. His approach is shaped by the principles of “ethical design” by which fundamental freedoms can be protected.

Aral sitting in front of a yellow wall with picture frames, wearing a black T-Shirt.
Constanze Kurz sitting on an old black leather couch in front of a bare stone wall wearing a black shirt.

Dr. Conzstanze Kurz

The assumption that freedom and security are mutually exclusive shapes most of the anti-privacy laws and policies. With Constanze, I discuss this issue at length for the film. She explains the connection between privileges and encryption Such privileges are held by certain groups of people by birth and status. Focusing on this inherent inequality, she also tells the story of how several organisations are working to overcome this. Constanze studied economics and IT and holds a PhD from the Humboldt University in Berlin. She works as an editor for Netzpolitik.org. For the Chaos Computer Club she acts as the official spokesperson and is regularly invited as an interviewee. In cooperation with other persons active in the fields of data security she published several books. Also, she has been part of the committee of enquiry The internet and digital society at the German Bundestag and advised the German Federal Constitutional Court as a technical expert.

Hossein Derakhshan

Hossein speaks about how the internet has changed over the last 20 years. Early on it was a space for bloggers who connected and discussed a variety of topics. In those times the internet was heavily shaped by communication and the freedom of the users to participate. Since the rise of the social networks its underlying dynamics changed. This affects our behaviour online to such a degree that our freedom of expression is being cut down.

Many journalists call Hossein “father of Persian blogging”. He has gained publicity in the early 2000s when he was on the forefront of the Iranian blogging revolution. Since then he was very outspoken against censorship and fought for the free access to information and participation. In 2008 Hossein was detained to 19 years in prison in Iran for his activism. Pardoned in 2014, he has been working since his release from prison as a media analyst, journalist and writer.

Hossein Derakshan sitting on a balcony in front of an orange wall. He is wearing a light blue shirt and a grey jacket.
Picture of a woman smiling, wearing a brown sweater and sitting in front of a white wall.

Jillian C. York

In articles on privacy the term meta-data is used regularly. What this means can be difficult to understand. In our interview, Jillian walks us through the questions what meta-data is and how it is used. She shows us little data the governments needs to create a profile of someone. Another topic of our conversation is the importance to understand, why having “nothing to hide” is not a valid argument as it can put people around us at risk.

Jillian is the Director of International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The EFF is a US based organisation supporting digital rights and advocating for freedoms online. Jillian’s work focuses on censorship and free speech, for example in Arabic speaking countries. Her writing on these topics has been published broadly and she is a regular contributor at digital rights conferences. 

Matthew Stender

Our interview evolves around the question how multinational companies follow colonialist approaches. Matthew explains this concept in the film. In a globalised world, few mostly US-american companies hold the technological power over smaller business in poor countries. Matthew also talks about the impact of social media on our ways of communicating. According to him their actions affect and shape our moral understanding and values

Matthew is a project strategist, creative director, and digital rights advocate. He works around topics of sustainable development, data journalism, creative communications and tech culture. In cooperation with Jillian York he founded the platform onlineCensorship.org. It collects reports from individuals who have experienced censorship online, both by platforms as well as by internet service providers.

Photograph of Matthew Stender, sitting outside, in the background one can see a skyline of Hamburg under a grey winter sky. He wears a black coat.
Close up of a smiling woman, standing in a busy hall.

Maryant Fernández Pérez

Maryant explains that during the last years, the European Union worked on new Counter Terrorism Directives. Those are measures aimed at preventing terrorist acts. Mostly, these measures focus on more surveillance and less privacy for persons living in the EU. They will affect everyone who belongs to one of the groups currently deemed, by the EU, as potential terrorist. In our interview Maryant also describes how these directives will affect the daily lives of these persons. If and how they will influence our democracies is another aspect of our interview.

Maryant works for the Brussels-based organisation EDRi – European Digital Rights. EDRi is an umbrella organisation of more than 30 digital rights NGOs all over Europe. Their aim is to bring digital rights and the protection of our human rights into the EU intern discourse. Maryant, who holds a law degree, works as an advocacy manager. Besides counter-terrorism, she is specialised in trade agreements such as the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Mishi Choudhary

The main topic of our conversation is Facebook’s initiative Free Basics. Hereby Facebook wants to offer people with low income the access to a limited set of websites for free. It was supposed to be a seemingly altruistic way of bringing “a window to the internet”, as Facebook put it. How such a service is problematic and why the Indian supreme court has ruled it as unlawful, is explained by Mishi. Beyond that she talks about global, imperialist structures of power. These influence how the internet is distributed in the world and who can participate in it.

Mishi is a technology lawyer. She is licensed to practice in India and New York, USA. In her work she has more than a decade of experience in the fields of privacy, surveillance, and free expression among others. Mishi is the Founding Executive Director of SFLC.in, a legal services organisation in India. She also volunteers as the Legal Director at the Software Freedom Law Center, New York.

Mishi Choudhary sitting on a blue garden chair in front of a brick wall, wearing a blue dress and a black coat.
Picture of Nadia-El Imam, smiling, wearing a blue sweater, sitting in front of a white wall.

Nadia El-Imam

The question how companies exercise control over their customers is the key aspect of my interview with Nadia. She speaks about the impacts of such control on societies but also about how individuals are affected by it. In her view, control is heavily influenced by societal narratives. These are taught to us early on and, almost by default, re-enacted by individuals and communities. Such dynamics shape our reaction towards big companies.

Nadia is the co-founder of the community and company Edgeryders. It can be best described in her own words as: “a company living in symbiosis with an online community of about 3000 hackers, activists, radical thinkers and doers, and just normal people that want to make a difference. The company both serves the community and uses its collective smarts to power its own activities.”
 Nadia is working as an engineer and designer.

Prof. Yasmin Jiwani

“Yasmin Jiwani is a feminist academic and activist. In her research, she examines the intersectionality of race and gender in media narratives of violence against women and representations of racialized peoples. Currently, Dr. Jiwani is a full professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. She is the author of Discourses of Denial: Mediations of Race, Gender and Violence.”

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