Keynotes and Speakers


Vikram Kumar

Vikram has just this month moved from CEO of Mega, which provides cloud storage and collaboration services globally, to a management role with the Internet Party. Prior to this, Vikram was Chief Executive of InternetNZ, a not-for-profit organisation working to keep the Internet ‘open and uncapturable’. He has also worked with government (State Services Commission) and Telecom NZ in New Zealand.

Vikram has over two decades of experience and interest in thinking about the social, economic, political and cultural impact of the Internet.

Vikram will be speaking on the opening plenary panel (10am-12pm, Thursday 30 January, Castle 1) as well as giving a keynote talk on Saturday, 1 February from11am-12.30pm in Castle 1 entitled:
The View From The Coalface: Surveillance, copyright, privacy in a post-Snowden era

[Updated abstract] Megaupload, MEGA, and the nascent Internet Party are an important part to understand and respond to Surveillance, Copyright, and Privacy issues. Individually and collectively, these issues are at the heart of society grappling with rapid change thrust upon it by the Internet. Complexity arises from the interplay of technology, governments, and businesses pursuing diverging agendas. What insights and lessons are being learnt at the coalface? How can we use them to think about and forge a future in the post-Snowden era?





Graham Murdock

Graham Murdock is Professor of Culture and Economy at Loughborough University. His research examines the role of communications in the constitution of modernity, the relations between culture, communications, power and inequality through a distinctive critical political economy , and the organisation of public definitions and responses to perceived threats and risks. His writings have been widely anthologised, cited, and incorporated into university curricula around the world and been translated into nineteen languages.  He has held the Leerstoel (Teaching Chair) at the Free University of Brussels, the Bonnier Chair at Stockholm University, and been a visiting professor at the universities of : Auckland, Bergen, California at San Diego, Mexico City, Helsinki and Fudan. His recent publications include as co-editor; Digital Dynamics: Engagements and Disconnections (Hampton Press 2010); The Idea of the Public Sphere (Rowman and Littlefield 2010);and The Handbook of Political Economy of Communication (Wiley-Blackwell 2011). His current work explores the struggle to establish a cultural common on the internet.

Graham will also be on Saturday Mornings Kim Hill  on Radio New Zealand on Saturday the 25th to discuss these and other issues so do tune in.

As well as speaking in the opening plenary panel, Graham will also be giving a keynote in Castle 1, 1.30pm-3pm on Friday 31 January, entitled:

Surveillance and Secrecy in the Age of Big Data
The roll out of broadband connectivity coupled with the exponential increase in computer capacity has ushered in the age of ‘Big Data’.State agencies and commercial companies are recording, aggregating and interrogating every aspect of people’s on-line lives, constructing new economic, social, and political classifications of dangerousness, credit worthiness, and compliance. But information flows remain highly asymmetric. While the activities of citizens and consumers are increasingly transparent to governments and major corporations their own intentions and actions remain opaque, concealed behind walls erected to protect ‘national security’ and ‘commercial privilege’ and misrepresented by concerted public relations activities designed to promote carefully selected accounts. This produces radical asymmetries in the ability ground strategies of action in informed analysis.

This present paper has three aims. Firstly, it sets out to map the emerging landscape of ‘Big Data’ and its core dynamics. Secondly, drawing on recent cases of whistleblowing it argues that investigative journalism and critical scholarship are more essential than ever as sources of informed challenge to the abuse of state and corporate power. Thirdly, it explores how these interventions might be supported and advanced in a context where economic and political pressures are combining to undermine their viability.







Nicky Hager

Nicky Hager is an author and investigative journalist based in Wellington, New Zealand. He specialises in investigating hard-to-document subjects, such as military and intelligence agencies, public relations activities and the unseen side of politics. Nicky is the author of FIVE books, including Secret Power, an in-depth exposé of New Zealand and international intelligence systems, particularly the US Echelon system that targets phone calls and email. US intelligence specialist Jeffrey Richelson described this book as “a masterpiece of investigative reporting.” His most recent book, Other People’s Wars, focuses on New Zealand military and intelligence involvement in Afghanistan and the war on terror, while updating his electronic intelligence research. Nicky has also authored a string of ground-breaking articles and is a regular contributor to the New Zealand newspaper Sunday Star-Times.

Nicky will be part of the opening plenary panel as well as giving his keynote on Thursday 30 January, from 3pm-4.30pm, in Castle 1, speaking on:

Surveillance and Privacy in the Snowden Era 

This talk will describe the development of mass surveillance systems during the past generation and New Zealand’s part in this story. He will discuss Anglo-American intelligence history, digital electronics and the war-on-terror environment that together have led to a scale of spying that threatens the Internet as we briefly knew it. Digital technology has of course also hugely changed how people live their lives. This talk will look at what privacy means and how we can protect it in this era of on-line lives and Internet surveillance.






Surveillance and privacy in the Snowden era Dunedin

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