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Inside Snowden’s suitcase

Wednesday, 21 October 2015, 12.00pm to 2.00pm

Speaker: Evan Light (Concordia University)

A report from the workshop is available at the CRASSH blog.

The Portable Snowden Surveillance Archive is a replica of the Snowden Digital Surveillance Archive – created and maintained by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and researchers at the University of Toronto. The suitcase here is two tools in one: it is an autonomous wifi network and web server that enables one to search all of the until-now published Snowden documents; and is a surveillance demonstration tool, replaying the Internet Protocol conversations that occur between the user’s smartphone/tablet/laptop and the tiny server inside the suitcase.

The Sensing Mass Surveillance workshop presents the legal concept of privacy and examines our historical relationships with telecommunications providers. I then present a number of important mass surveillance programs revealed through the Snowden documents and introduce the audience to the Portable Snowden Surveillance Archive. Here, the audience will be able to search through all the documents as well as the media articles with which they were first published into the public domain. Finally, I show the audience how the Portable Snowden Surveillance Archive has been learning things about them and extend the conversation into debates over agency, consent and legal authority in the context of big data.

The Portable Snowden Surveillance Archive is the creation of Dr. Evan Light, FRQSC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mobile Media Lab, Concordia University and part of Performigrations, a touring EU-funded interactive art exhibit.

See for details


Ali, Mir Adnan and Steve Mann. 2013. The inevitability of the transition
from a surveillance-society to a veillance society: Moral and economic
groundings for sousveillance. IEEE. 243-254.

DOI: 10.1109/ISTAS.2013.6613126

Bauman, Zygmunt, Didier Bigo et al. 2014. After Snowden: Rethinking the
Impact of Surveillance. International Political Sociology, 8, 121-144

DOI: 10.1111/ips.12048

Lyon, David. 2015 The Snowden Stakes: Challenges for Understanding
Surveillance Today. Surveillance and Society, 13(2), 139-152.

King, Anthony, 2015 Digital privacy: Subverting surveillance Nature 524, 413 (27 August 2015)



Snowden Digital Surveillance Archive

IXmaps - see where your data packets go


If you have a question about this talk, please contact Clare Dyer-Smith.