Surfing the Internet: Who’s Watching? Who’s Censoring?

Date & Time

Mon, 03/20/2006
6pm-8pm

Overview

Produced by:

Location: University of San Diego Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Auditorium

Our November 2005 panel discussion on the Internet was a great success, raising important issues about Internet search engine privacy and transparency issues that soon after our conference became increasingly popular themes in the public press. We were, if anything, a bit ahead of the curve on this topic, anticipating issues that had not yet received widespread public notice. Now that the public is more fully engaged with this issue, we present a special event produced by KPBS and subsequently broadcast on These Days on KPBS.

Search engines have been increasingly in the news in the last few months, both because of privacy concerns and because of concerns about censorship and filtering of search results.

How private are our Internet searches?
Who has access to our search histories? Can the government legally require that search engine companies turn over records of search histories, either as individual records or aggregate data? Can such records be subpoenaed in civil litigation? What privacy rights do we give up when we click “I accept” on end-user agreements? Can search engine companies sell our data to commercial firms? Can they target us for advertisements from such firms?

Are search results censored or filtered?
We know this happens in China for political reasons, in Germany and other European countries that ban hate speech, in many other countries that filter for pornography as well as unwelcome political views. What kind of filtering should be permissible? Should users be informed of any filtering or censoring?

As search engines come to play in increasingly important role in our lives, these questions are central to the shape of knowledge and society itself. Please join us for an enlightening and thoughtful discussion of these issues, which will include questions from the audience.

Resources:

Speaker

Tom Fudge
KPBS

Tom Fudge has been a professional broadcast journalist for more than 20 years. Tom was hired as a reporter at KPBS in 1998 to cover San Diego issues related to growth, transportation and development. In September of 1999, Tom took over as host of These Days where he served for nearly a decade. Tom is now back in the newsroom working as one of KPBS’ health reporters.

Tom began his broadcasting career in 1988 at WSUI Radio in Iowa City as a reporter and newscaster. After leaving WSUI in 1990, Tom worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) for five years. Following his departure from MPR, Tom was a freelance journalist, working for Twin Cities Public Television, WCCO Radio and a variety of regional and national newspapers and magazines. He has received recognition for his outstanding work in hosting and public affairs reporting from the Unity Awards, the Northwest Broadcast News Association and the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Lance Cottrell
Anonymizer, Inc.

Lance Cottrell founded Anonymizer in 1995 and is an internationally recognized expert in cryptography, online privacy, and Internet security addressing conferences such as the Computers Freedom and Privacy Conference, Organization Economic Cooperation and Development in Europe, and the MIT Forum. Lance is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional and principal author on multiple Internet privacy and security technology patent applications. While sitting on the Steering Committee for Software as a Service (SaaS) with the San Diego Software Industry Council (SDSIC), he is also an active member of InfraGard and the High Technology Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA). Cottrell holds a MS in Physics from the University of California San Diego and a

Pam Dixon
World Privacy Forum

Pam Dixon founded the World Privacy Forum in November 2003. An author and a researcher, she has consistently broken critical new ground in her work. She has written highly respected and influential studies in the area of privacy; she researched and wrote the first report to exist on medical identity theft (May 2006), identifying and bringing that topic to the public for the first time. Medical identity theft is now a widely acknowledged issue. In 2008, a California law was passed based on Dixon’s research. She has written other influential studies in the area of workplace and job search privacy as well as financial privacy and Internet privacy. Dixon is the co-chair of the California Privacy and Security Advisory Board, a board that reports to California’s Secretary of Health. She is also a board member of HITSP, a national-level board for determining health information technology standards. In 2008, Dixon won the Consumer Excellence Award.

Dixon was formerly a research fellow with the Privacy Foundation at Denver University’s Sturm School of Law. There, she researched and wrote about technology-related privacy issues. Dixon has written extensively about technology both as a book author and as a former columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune. Ms. Dixon has written seven books for major publishers, including two critically acclaimed books about technology and consumers. Her books include titles for Random House / Times Books, among other major publishers. Dixon’s first book was a finalist for the Computer Press Awards. Her book on distance education is a classic and is used in college classrooms today. Dixon is frequently quoted in the media regarding privacy and security issues. A selection of her press clippings are located here.

Larry Hinman
USD

Professor of Philosophy, University of San Diego

Dr. Hinman, founding director of the Values Institute, is a professor of Philosophy at the University of San Diego, where he has been teaching since 1975. He is co-founder with Dr. Kalichman of the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology.

Dr. Hinman is the author of two widely-used texts in ethics, Ethics: A Pluralistic Approach to Moral Theory, 3rd ed. ( Wadsworth , 2002) and Contemporary Moral Issues, 3rd ed. (Prentice-Hall, 2005). He has published numerous scholarly articles in ethics in journals such as Ethics, The Monist, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophical Studies, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Criminal Justice Ethics, Computers and Society, Ethics and Information Technology, and Teaching Philosophy; he has also contributed to numerous anthologies in ethics. Translations of his articles have appeared in German and Italian. He also publishes op-ed pieces in newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Dr. Hinman is also actively engaged in developing Ethics Across the Curriculum (EAC) programs at the University of San Diego and around the country. As part of the USD EAC program, he has brought such notable speakers to USD as Carol Gilligan, Daniel Callahan, Michael Walzer, and Michael Josephson. Most recently, he has been developing ethics-related workshops and components for middle school and high school students in the Pacific Northwest . He has received several grants in this area. He has also organized several major conferences in philosophy, including “Kantian Ethics: Interpretations and Critiques” (January 2003).

Dr. Hinman is a former member of the board of the American Philosophical Association and also a past member of the Executive Committee of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. He has served as a member of the APA Committee on Computing and Philosophy and chaired the APA Committee on Teaching and Philosophy in 2003-05, and for several years was on the Steering Committee for the Computing and Philosophy.

David Brin
Writer

David Brin is a scientist, speaker, technical consultant and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages.

His 1989 ecological thriller, Earth, foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends such as the World Wide Web*. A 1998 movie, directed by Kevin Costner, was loosely based on The Postman.

Brin serves on advisory committees dealing with subjects as diverse as national defense and homeland security, astronomy and space exploration, SETI and nanotechnology, future/prediction and philanthropy. His non-fiction book — The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy? — deals with secrecy in the modern world. It won the Freedom of Speech Prize from the American Library Association.

As a public “scientist/futurist” David appears frequently on TV, including, most recently, on many episodes of “The Universe” and on the History Channel’s best-watched show (ever) “Life After People.” He also was a regular cast member on “The ArciTECHS.” (For others, see “Media and Punditry.”)

Brin’s scientific work covers an eclectic range of topics, from astronautics, astronomy, and optics to alternative dispute resolution and the role of neoteny in human evolution. His Ph.D in Physics from UCSD – the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) – followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Space Institute and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His patents directly confront some of the faults of old-fashioned screen-based interaction, aiming to improve the way human beings converse online.

David’s novel Kiln People has been called a book of ideas disguised as a fast-moving and fun noir detective story, set in a future when new technology enables people to physically be in more than two places at once.

A hardcover graphic novel The Life Eaters explored alternate outcomes to WWII, winning nominations and high praise in the nation that most loves and respects the graphic novel.

David’s science fictional Uplift Universe explores a future when humans genetically engineer higher animals like dolphins to become equal members of our civilization. He also recently tied up the loose ends left behind by the late Isaac Asimov. Foundation’s Triumph brings to a grand finale Asimov’s famed Foundation Universe.

As a founding contributor to Amazon.com/shorts, the online publishing venture for short stories and essays, David was a “Top Ten Author.” His essays poke at convention and question comfortable assumptions.

As a speaker and on television, David Brin shares unique insights — serious and humorous — about ways that changing technology may affect our future lives. Brin lives in San Diego County with his wife, three children, and a hundred very demanding trees.

Event Resources

Handouts