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Anti-Government Surveillance Think Tank Code Red Announced

2014-10-28 18:30

A who’s who of privacy campaigners and security experts is being assembled by Privacy International founder Simon Davies to counter the growing menace of covert government surveillance around the world.

Dubbed ‘Code Red,’ the project will be launched in Brussels at the end of January 2015, Davies wrote in a blog post.

“Code Red will be a strategic think tank and campaign clearinghouse to provide new resources and tactical advice to human rights groups across the world,” he added.

“It will also seek to establish a protection network for rights defenders who are increasingly exposed to aggressive personal retribution by state authorities.”

One of the group’s key roles will be to “mentor” new projects which tackle what Davies sees as increasingly intrusive and expansive government surveillance efforts around the world.

“It is clearly time to raise the stakes for secretive agencies that refuse to embrace accountability – and to do so fearlessly and relentlessly,” he said.

Another major part of Code Red’s work will be to help “build a stronger bridge” between policy and technical spheres, by providing logistics, strategic and resource support for initiatives countering the surveillance threat.

Those already on board include cryptographers Bruce Schneier and Whitfield Diffie, security researcher and Wikileaks player Jacob Applebaum, and MI5 whistleblower Annie Machon.

Also signed up are former presidential candidate, Cynthia McKinney; former Wikimedia general counsel, Mike Godwin; head of CIS India, Sunil Abraham; OpenMedia’s David Christopher; Access Now’s Raegan McDonald; the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s international rights director, Katitza Rodriguez; and the former editor of Index On Censorship, Judith Vidal-Hall.

Davies is hoping more representatives from policy, law, and technology fields will also sign up before the big launch early next year.

Mark James, security specialist at Eset, gave the project a cautious welcome.

“The subject of government surveillance is an already much-talked-about topic with many voices both for and against. If this think tank can provide a constructive place to gather or distribute information then I think that's a good thing,” he told Infosecurity.

“Whether it will get off the ground is another matter. We hear about so many ‘bodies’ for this or ‘think tanks’ for that which amount to nothing or provide no more than a base and breeding ground for malicious software. There is one thing that is certain – it will only be as good as the time and effort put in by experts in this field and their continued invested expertise.”

Lancope CTO, TK Keanini, also welcomed the news.

“I do think this is a necessary group and ultimately an important resource," he told Infosecurity.

"So much of privacy today is knowing what and how to do something.  Knowing what tools and techniques to use makes all the difference and groups like this can be a valuable resource.”

Source: /edoc-ecnallievrus-tnemnrevog-itna/swen/moc.enizagam-ytirucesofni.www

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