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"Concealing for Freedom" presentation at CIM

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies is proud to host the presentation of Francesca Musiani and KseniaBook cover Ermoshina’s book "Concealing for Freedom: The Making of Encryption, Secure Messaging and Digital Liberties" (Mattering Press) on January 25, 2023.

The centrality of digital technologies in social communication practices, combined with the continuous emergence of revelations on mass surveillance of Internet users, have resulted in widespread concerns and harsh debates on issues such as online privacy and security. In this context, encryption – once a niche technology for hackers and computer security experts – has become one of the main battlegrounds of Internet governance. As a matter of fact, cryptographic tools design and architecture have profound implications on the authority structures and power (im)balances characterizing the Internet, as they affect the exercise of individual freedoms and the possibility of manifestation of online collective presence.

Musiani and Ermoshina's 'Concealing for Freedom' is an important contribution to a deeper understanding of encryption technologies from a social science perspective, as well as to the political consequences implied by their architecture. This book represents an innovative and extensive investigation in the field of encrypted secure messaging. By tracing the interwoven stories of technical development, architectural choices, community building and Internet governance, the authors provide an ‘analytical portrait’ of the secure messaging field and conceptualizes encryption as a fully-fledged political issue, by uncovering how it is both a target and a tool of governance.

The author Francesca Musiani will be present and critically discuss with Dr. Matt Spencer (Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick) and Dr. Rikke Bjerg Jensen (Information Security Group, Royal Holloway, University of London) the core findings of the book, as well as the peculiar interdisciplinary methodological approach characterizing it.

Date and time: 25 January 2023, H 14:00.

Place: Room R3.41, Ramphall Building, University of Warwick

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The Author

Francesca Musiani

Francesca (PhD, socio-economics of innovation, MINES ParisTech, 2012), is associate research professor at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRSLink opens in a new window) since 2014. She is Deputy Director of the Center for Internet and Society of CNRS, which she co-founded with Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay in 2019. She is also an associate researcher at the Center for the sociology of innovationLink opens in a new window (i3/MINES ParisTech) and a Global Fellow at the Internet Governance LabLink opens in a new window, American University in Washington, DC.

The Discussants

Matt Spencer

Matt is an Associate Professor at CIM and an Affiliate of Warwick Manufacturing Group's Cyber Security Centre. He gained his PhD in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2013. Prior to that he studied Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. He is interested in examining the role of trust in cyber security. His current research examines the processes through which trust is built and used among cyber security practitioners, for example in the development and use of evaluative frameworks, in security architectures, and delivery models. He is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow, and an Expert Fellow in the EPSRC SPRITE+ network.

Rikke Bjerg Jensen

Rikke is a social scientist and ethnographer researching collective security practices. Her work explores the different security needs, perspectives and practices amongst groups of people living and working on what might call the edge of society. It thus focuses on how technology and the information flows that it enables – shaped by social structures, relations and interactions – facilitate multiple security experiences and understandings. Her research is inherently ground-up in nature and driven by the co-production of knowledge with diverse groups of people, in order to understand the wider security implications of information technology. She has undertaken extensive fieldwork as part of several distinct research projects, in the UK and overseas, with maritime and seafaring communities, refugee and migrant communities as well as protesters.