"History does not matter to them": What lessons can we learn from Stasi surveillance in the age of PRISM and TEMPORA?

Event Name "History does not matter to them": What lessons can we learn from Stasi surveillance in the age of PRISM and TEMPORA?
Start Date 18th Mar 2014 4:00pm
End Date 18th Mar 2014 7:00pm
Duration 3 hours
Description

Open to all.

In the evening of 15 January 1990, a large crowd of people formed outside the gates of the main building of the Ministry for State Security of the German Democratic Republic (Stasi). The building housed a large proportion of the files the Stasi had collected on its own citizens through the use of official and inofficial informants and sophisticated surveillance technology. By popular account, the files occupied  over 100 kilometres of shelf space, not including the 16,000 sacks of documents Stasi officials had already begun to shred. The protesters had gathered to prevent the further destruction of personal files that would allow the citizens of the former GDR to find out just how pervasive and omnipresent Stasi surveillance had been. They felt that this information should be available to them and that those who had taken part in the Stasi actions should be punished.

Today, the Stasi building houses the Stasi-Museum Berlin. Dedicated to the engagement with Stasi history, it provides insights into the technology used by, the people involved with the Stasi as it enable the GDR government to exercise almost total control over a population of 16 million people. Judith Rauhofer, Lecturer in IT Law at the Edinburgh Law School , will use images taken during a recent visit to the museum to illustrate the history of the Stasi, the effect of Stasi surveillance on the people of the GDR and the lesson that may be learned from  this historical experience in the light of recent revelation by Edward Snowden. Her public talk will be followed by a viewing of the feature film "The Lives of Others" for those connected with the University of Edinburgh.