Circumventing the Panopticon: Whistle-blowing, Cypherpunk and Journalism in the Networked 5th Estate
Whistle-blowing is the new civil disobedience of our time. Bruce Schneier
The recent disclosures made by whistle-blower Edward J. Snowden encompass some of the most severe threats to Human Rights and to democracy in the modern age. We are experiencing a “chill” in the fields of investigative reporting while witnessing an unholy alliance between government agencies, Internet service providers and the media, that have caused a rupture of confidence in the security industry as well as in our civic institutions. The Snowden affair has also shed light on how journalism is being perceived in our time and how information contained in the leaks is being handled by the media outlets of the 4th Estate, which have traditionally served as the “gatekeepers” for public accountability.
This panel seeks to illustrate how the virtue ethics of cypherpunk, whistle-blowing and investigative journalism are evolving into a hybrid form of civic resistance against the predations of the State. It will discuss the ascendancy of an information commons, a so-called 5th Estate, as a network of networks, that can serve to complement, if not surpass the 4th Estate and how it can serve to effectuate political change.