Home / Events / Inside Snowden’s suitcase

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.

Forthcoming talks

Achieving Consistent Low Latency for Wireless Real-Time Communications with the Shortest Control Loop

Thursday, 18 August 2022, 4.00pm to 5.00pm
Speaker: Zili Meng, Tsinghua Unversity
Venue: FW11 and

Real-time communication (RTC) applications like video conferencing or cloud gaming require consistent low latency to provide a seamless interactive experience. However, wireless networks including WiFi and cellular, albeit providing a satisfactory median latency, drastically degrade at the tail due to frequent and substantial wireless bandwidth fluctuations. We observe that the control loop for the sending rate of RTC applications is inflated when congestion happens at the wireless access point (AP), resulting in untimely rate adaption to wireless dynamics. Existing solutions, however, suffer from the inflated control loop and fail to quickly adapt to bandwidth fluctuations. In this paper, we propose Zhuge, a pure wireless AP based solution that reduces the control loop of RTC applications by separating congestion feedback from congested queues. We design a Fortune Teller to precisely estimate per-packet wireless latency upon its arrival at the wireless AP. To make Zhuge deployable at scale, we also design a Feedback Updater that translates the estimated latency to comprehensible feedback messages for various protocols and immediately delivers them back to senders for rate adaption. Trace-driven and real-world evaluation shows that Zhuge reduces the ratio of large tail latency and RTC performance degradation by 17% to 95%.

Speaker Bio: Zili is a 3rd-year PhD student in Tsinghua University. His current research interest focuses on real-time video communications. He has published several papers in SIGCOMM / NSDI and received the Microsoft Research Asia PhD Fellowship, Gold Medal of SIGCOMM 2018 Student Research Competition, and two best paper awards.

BSU Seminar: "Genome-wide genetic models for association, heritability analyses and prediction"

Monday, 22 August 2022, 4.30pm to 5.30pm
Speaker: David Balding, Honorary Professor of Statistical Genetics at UCL Genetics Institute and University of Melbourne
Venue: Seminar Rooms 1 & 2, School of Clinical Medicine, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0SP

Although simultaneous analysis of genome-wide SNPs has been popular for over a decade, the problems posed by more SNPs than study participants (more parameters than data points), and correlations among the SNPs, have not been adequately overcome so that almost all published genome-wide analyses are suboptimal. While there has been much attention paid to the shape of prior distributions for SNP effect sizes, we argue that this attention is misplaced. We focus on what we call the "heritability model": a low-dimensional model for the expected heritability at each SNP, which is key to both individual-data and summary-statistic analyses. The 1-df uniform heritability model has been implicitly adopted in a wide range of analyses. Replacing it with better heritability models, using predictors based on allele frequency, linkage disequilibrium and functional annotations, leads to substantial improvements in estimates of heritability and selection parameters over traits, and over genome regions, as well as improvements in gene-based association testing and prediction. Key collaborators Doug Speed, Aarhus, Denmark and Melbourne PhD student Anubhav Kaphle.

Statistics Clinic Summer 2022 III

Wednesday, 31 August 2022, 5.30pm to 7.00pm
Speaker: Speaker to be confirmed
Venue: Venue to be confirmed

If you would like to participate, please fill in the following "form": The deadline for signing up for a session is 12pm on Monday the 29th of August. Subject to availability of members of the Statistics Clinic team, we will confirm your in-person or remote appointment.

This event is open only to members of the University of Cambridge (and affiliated institutes). Please be aware that we are unable to offer consultations outside clinic hours.

Statistics Clinic Summer 2022 IV

Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 5.30pm to 7.00pm
Speaker: Speaker to be confirmed
Venue: Venue to be confirmed

Abstract not available

Title to be confirmed

Monday, 26 September 2022, 3.00pm to 4.00pm
Speaker: Christopher Yau, University of Manchester
Venue: CRUK CI Lecture Theatre

Abstract not available