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Privacy, Encryption and Hacktivism: Is Your Information Safe Online?

Chatham House, London


Nathan Clarke, Professor of Cyber Security and Digital Forensics, Plymouth University
Lanah Kammourieh Donnelly, Public Policy Manager, Google
Dr Adrian Nish, Head of Threat Intelligence, BAE Systems
Chair: Geoff White, Technology Journalist


The rise of well-publicised cyberattacks, such as the WannaCry ransomware attack on the NHS, and the disclosure by WikiLeaks of CIA efforts to access smart phones for surveillance purposes has brought interdependent issues of data privacy and national and commercial security to the fore. The growth in software devices which afford anonymity through encryption online highlights concerns over the security of information and companies, such as Apple and Whatsapp, have introduced end-to-end encryption on much of their messaging services. Do these measures ensure data privacy on the internet? Or does the rise of both ethical and criminal hacking collectives at a time of increasing state surveillance mean such privacy is always in doubt?

Our panel will assess what confidentiality encryption security affords, the risks to people’s everyday privacy on the internet and whether associated threats are overblown. Will privacy and security concerns limit the appetite for device-to-device connectivity in the Internet of Things? Are there new and better tools out there to secure an individual’s personal data? And what are companies doing to protect their customer’s data?