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The human story behind the last big scoop in tech news: Ahmed Mansoor

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Myers and half and you along with
that would the the
few the the thank you for coming to the spot i'd 1st like to mention that this was co-organized Amnesty International uh and have
been instructed to keep as much time as possible for questions and answers so I'll try to run through what I want to say uh within 15 or 20 minutes so that we can we can talk um and I apologize ahead of time if you know my voice gives up on the middle and in the middle but the subject of this of this talk is going to be on highlighting the very unique case of the a country which is both highly globalized and very technologically advanced but also very repressive and very uh and it's and and very very uh hearts when it comes to freedom of expression and uh the existence of public sphere and where we want to highlight the particular case of ACM source was an Emirati activists and human rights defender who were hoping to create as much noise as possible to the to the push for his release his in jail right now the but so maybe I can ask I can start by asking you how many of you have been to divide Rizzo found from France because it's
good to see that how many have you been out of the airports in the by the k excellent but I grew up in the United Arab Emirates I lived in the United Arab Emirates all my life is 6 and a half
years until 3 years ago when I
was uh some early expelled I was put in jail and then I was exiled from the country with without trial but this might seem harsh but this is actually that you might get some of my being not a citizen of the United Arab Emirates but but on a lifelong resident this is actually probably the least harsh thing that could happen if I was a citizen of the United Arab Emirates I would have come to a much more severe punishments and this is why we want to talk about the case of movement so but when I walked into into
the event to Republic of the vi uh
the kind of people that I see the kind of store the kind of branding it could have been in the body to be honest this could have been by with the with the exception maybe with the with the difference is that in the United Arab Emirates you don't have an open public sphere if you don't have freedom of expression you don't have democracy and you have this paradox of having a country which is very highly connected and very technologically advanced uh you know excellent Internet speeds excellent connectivity the highest by the mobile this part of the smartphone penetration the world probably the highest penetration in the Arab world and yet it's no freedom of expression and yet everyone with an opinion uh either has to keep that opinion to himself or he's going to get in trouble uh maybe I can start by highlighting a story that kind of happened 2 years ago this 2015 I'm in Oslo and this is all from my exiled I get a call from uh from a journalists were thrown into foreign the foreign international newspaper and she is writing a piece about freedom of expression in the United Arab Emirates uh and the these calls for talking with people in the United Arab Emirates about freedom of expression and I'm surprised because she called me and she knows that I'm exiled you know that I'm not I'm not in the United Arab Emirates and that's the it's it's it's very it's very powerful moment which explain to me why she said nobody could talk to her How point that is it that she's trying to write a piece about freedom of expression in the United Arab Emirates and nobody in the United Arab Emirates
dare speak to about there was nobody within the country was willing to talk about freedom of expression in the country in a piece about freedom of expression in the country but there is only 1
person 1 guy the dead stick out the only person who would talk to her and that is that mobile social a ahem solar is currently in jail and I'd I'd like to dedicate the next few minutes highlighting who he is and why he deserves a help but I think I'll have to start maybe start a little bit about about my background for people who don't know me I am an osprey activist like I became prominent on Twitter on social media there in 2011 uh I lived in the United Arab Emirates which made me a little bit separated from the heartlands of our spring revolutions and this is why my spring experience of online rather than on the streets um and maybe I can link this to the sort of armaments or because when they're spring started in 2011 there are 22 Arab countries and out of 22 Arab countries 20 of the 22 had street protease had some foremost reporters or street activism out of 20 22 countries only the United Arab Emirates and Qatar did not see any street protests or any street activism but that does not mean that the United Arab Emirates was not affected but was not touched In April 2011 In April is quite early in their spring day protein you can you know uh was you can see 1 month after this this year revolution so we already had the Egyptian revolution come to a to a conclusion to a successful conclusion where the Tunisian revolution compass a social successful cont conclusion and where the Yemeni and by Haney and uh and uh the sea and the Libyan revolution was that it was also going on in the services so going on and at this point in April 5 UAE nationals who are academics activists human rights defenders they wrote the pop an open letter to the to the leadership of the country and this open letter was like it was it was very respectful uh it was very well worded very well uh selected uh demands and is basically just a letter of recommendation saying to the leadership of the country it's about time we see some kind of reform the United Arab Emirates has matured that's what they said the United aromas has matured uh is about
time that the UAE citizen has a say in his own future and in a in the decisions that are being made on his behalf that How do you think the United Arab Emirates governments reacted these are 5 academic some of the best academic the country academics and activists and human rights defenders there were accused of insulting the presidency and whenever you criticize you whenever you give any kind of criticism or feedback feedback is criticism criticism is treason trees and sends you send you to jail this is the formal the out of the 5 activists 1 of them was moment so I'm I'm also was arrested in in April and later in November November the same year November 2011 uh or maybe also to demonstrate a little bit about how the United Arab Emirates the use of this kind of was cut with this kind of thing they convicted the 5 men off on charges of insulting the presidency and then the next day they pardoned them so this is their way of you know have you have your cake and eat it so you know you're you can of asserting that that you're right to actually convict them but at the same time you don't want the you are you know what the PR the public-relations uh back so let them go uh 2012 and 2013 war again uh we saw a lot of repression of of opposition of the dissidents um and what's really set aside the MIMO source of apart from everyone else I think was his independence I have also was not part of any group was never part of any group he is on the board of several NGO was but he was he did not have any affiliations with many Islamic parties did not have any official political parties it was always an independent human rights defender of 1 of the what you know he's a he's a an activist of the highest caliber without with a lot of energy with a lot of hearts there and he may be the fact that he was independent helped him evade uh you know the kind of harsh treatment that that befell others so the United Arab Emirates cares about this image that cares about public relations but it has
invested millions if not billions into crafting this image of a modern country a success story and always says of stability and security within a sea of chaos eds profits from this of course not only financially but
politically as well and you have this this the situation where uh it's uses this image this image of a technologically advanced country of of of a kind of a desert miracle it uses this for 2 reasons 1st to repressed to keep people down to say that you know you your your a you know your criticism invalid because we're doing fine were doing well we're doing great your criticism that completely invalid but also and this is really important here and maybe we can talk about this more in the questions and answers it does this In order to distract from its on but from its own us on sustainability the United Arab Emirate just like many of the Gulf states are deeply unsustainable they're not sustainable politically or economically or demographically and you know you're not allowed to even broach the topic you not allowed to even raise the topic raising the topic is treason and again that is in jail but you know this this very slick image helps them to to distract from this the so I have 1 so in 2015 was awarded the what we call the Nobel Peace Prize for Human Rights Defenders which is uh a uh an award called the Martin Ennals awards a highly prestigious awards defenders he was awarded the 15 as you can imagine that the members government was not happy about it uh in 2016 there was a there was a particle incident that that that took place that actually shows the the level to which the United Arab Emirates government is willing to go to harass outside and I'm also was highly connected activists uh he was 1 of the as as I mentioned 1 of all the voices that were that remained independent in the country uh and in 20 16 it was found out that the United Arab Emirates had uh elites piece of software created by an Israeli company in order to to be downloaded but that took to target monsters iPhone it was basically created a specifically to hackers form and the purpose of this was to turn has fallen into into a tracking device as in not only to download information but to continue to be to be house on the phone and to cut to send updates about everything that is doing and every everyone that is contacting sex luckily this was not successful it was found out in time so if you know the the the hack itself was not completely successful maybe there acts before that were that that whenever find found out about but what's interesting over here is that the the government sent spent this amount of money just to track 1 activist and this is when we started calling him the million dollar dissidents because that's what we estimate that spent in order to to track at on social In fact the apple really is a security patch after after that that that that attack attempts to to basically plug the security hole the then around 2017 beginning of this year maybe after from selection we felt ashamed change of energy in the region you see whether we like it or not America still an important country and when the head of the of off uh the American but the but when the guy in the war in the White House does not care about human rights there are repercussions dictators really take notes and they immediately start moving and in March 20 Our 6 weeks ago 12 security officers broken down Mimosas house in their modifiers months in the United Arab Emirates uh they kept his family outside they've search the entire area took out every you know every electronic equipment had it checked had confiscated and then they had moment or himself taken away to an undisclosed location it was 2 weeks before we was contacted with you were before his family even you he where he was there was a very brief on the so on a supervised visits where his family could meet 7 and now he stands accused of let me read the charges the very ridiculous charges that are brought against him he
was arrested for using a social media accounts to publish false information that damages the country's reputation so highlighting any human rights violations is damaging the com the country's reputation somehow it's easier to to you know to kidnap the people were actually highlighting those using whereas violation that most of the violations of it all together so in order to to safeguard his reputation instead
of improving its human rights record is much easier to just you know get everyone to set up he was also accused of spreading hatred of sectarianism which is completely if I may say bullshit if you not but also you know him to be a very polite man a very sweet man and a man would never so that level and as you know is for the account is is that a profile is pretty much open for everyone to see
so so why should you care and the this is at that conference right that well all day were worrying about what how technology is is improving our lives and how technology is actually liberating us and maybe this is an example of how technology can get people in trouble and how technology can help dictators and there is there 2 things that I want to highlight before we open the floor for the 1st is that the United Arab Emirates uses security uses security software and technology to scare people to scare the population by basically creating this image of being being everywhere so sometimes they make this kind of information in order for people to actually feel that you know the eyes and ears everywhere they also harassed this sensor and of course they have and they do this by the you know they do this by hiring programmers who might be in Israel or in Italy or in Spain or whatever the 1st thing that I would like to talk to you about is that we need a kind of code of ethics for the programming profession that say that any programmer or any programming company any IT company that could use dictators for this kind of purpose should have a reputation that matches its actions a programmer or a programmer who does something like this should become unemployable across the world Of course this is very this is easier said than done because you know the United Arab Emirates and these governors they have very deep pockets and they can they can they can create a situation where you have after working on but perhaps the 2nd point here is that this is a government that that runs away to technology technology is always a crutch that saves you know whenever we we don't want this we don't have to talk about the problems that make this more efficient let's make this more efficient let's make this so let let's make this you are smart app for this so let's make a website for this was making use initiative for this and the Crab this image very well and they don't face and percussion they're still the darling of the words everyone invest there and they invest everywhere everyone goes there for tourism everyone spend their money over there it's time for human rights violators wherever they are to have a reputation that matches their human rights record thank you so much and before I and I think we have a petition for moment so can can we have it on the screen ship and yet
and in the yeah and so we have we have this petition for a moment so that I invite you to go but we are advised to go to the website it's free at my . org if you can see it up there just react modeled on I invited to go to the website and signed a petition and you know we need to make as much noise as possible because they care about the PR they care about the image and we have to make this hurts thank you so much be
it
the thank you column fellow thank you much for this insight are there any comments statements questions from the audience the thank you very much in favor much of the neuron and then to avoid this it's a a very important issue when also the code of ethics and often when you talk to populations in the countries that have dictatorships they will say but we're only 25 years old in our country we are not ready enough to have democracy I feel that this is a lie but how do we how do we counted this lie effectively well the reason why I think
they managed to do that and that they were you hear the questions are repeated so the question was about you know whenever we go to 1 of those new countries the United Arab Emirates was is is 1 of the newest countries in the world it was actually it it became a country 1971 source like 40 something years old so whenever we go to 1 of these countries have a usual line that that that is always thrown at us is that where young country we don't really need were not ready for democracy you know so the question is how do to we account for that and the question that the answer really is what you talking to eventually you're talking to someone who can freely express themselves and an important point I in I mentioned I mention the transition to from and 1 thing I noticed ever since Bush is that Arab Arab dictators generally they work very well with islamophobic president they work very well as some of you know why it well because they base the narrative about the about up on the idea that that this these people are savages they don't deserve democracy you cannot give them democracy and that's why we have to do we are the enlightened leaders where the enlightened you know dictators were going to you know bring this bring bring a kind of enlightenment to this region and what agrees with them in this kind of bleak image of all about the region it's you know this unfolds but to answer your question 1 important factor is to see what kind of activism exists in the country so whenever there is no demand for democracy will actually not find any bending any amount for democracy you will not find people like animals or you will not be but we will not be even having the speech the question here is that the sorry the the point the key point over here is that this is a native movements of Mimosa is an American citizen he is not someone from the West saying that I want to import democracy these are native voices and these are the voice of the factory listen to whatever when whenever it comes to are we ready or not thank you have
that this time OK thank you very much for his speech minimize and have on left a question so we can for example sign depicted petition we can be active at Amnesty International what else can we do and the German citizens for example would you suggest to have some non influence on my Government to have influence on on this UAE so well I I kind of hinted to it in the in in the last
section of my speech which is that the the world continues to sell weapons and selling including electronic weapons and invest and accept investments from the stuff from the governments and that's why there's no incentive for them to actually you know to actually change the behavior I I'm not a fan I would not actually say that you know we have to go all the way into into banning their investments in the country because investment also society but I think they have to feel that the public relations is taking it they have to feel that what they're doing is actually damaging the public relations right now they have been in jail because they say he them as the public-relations image of the country you know because they care so much about the public and the public image that they don't want anyone to highlight any kind of human rights abuses and this is where we have to get you have to we have to you what we need is for you to help us to highlight the human rights records of the country I think this is step number 1 and you know where we go from there depends upon how that goes the thank you hello thank you
for your presentation when was only I have from Egypt and I have a lot of our for pusher with everyone here especially on responding to how can people had from different countries especially in Europe to situation like a murder in Egypt 1 major oppression region is that they always try to suppress information applications and 1 may loom 1 me renal resistance is by the pituitary publishing information and as German people European people because it was submitted for your request during governments to question the relationship with people in North Africa so after German government about military pre eminence often about what the occasionally other about uh relationship between the parameters of German and in the unstructured information and whenever you can access and publish information to help people like himself and most who who should be it should also be corrected to 0 was somewhat for the question what measures should limited used this excellent and I would I would I would just repeat the
point that there is no transparency in Arab governments most Agamas are not transparent however in European Cup government you have a you have a measure of transparency which is why would want to uncover these kind of relationships we have to put pressure way there's no point putting pressure on the government they're not going to stonewall so I have to put pressure on the European governments to you know to reveal this kind of these links and these relationships thank you exon-exon comment hi sir thank you so
much for thought had for anything presentation and my question to you is a lot of these um dynamics between like for example what Romney said about requesting information and publishing it a lot of them very domestic for example we're talking about France and it would be and tied with French politics if you read in the US to be tied with the US politics and 1 good example of this is and when the Tramp administration but then came into came into office and they dropped the requirements that behind had to be conforming with human rights obligations in order for the US to engage in the selling of of weaponry to that country and so how how would we as as advocates so even as as individuals were involved the tech sector really and a highlight the incentives for the political actors within the US to kind of art in you know fight against these kinds of measures when incentives are there to get to really bring these issues to light and make these local issues in the US and France and Italy etc. but I think the 1st part of the question answer the 2nd part because that is really what you what we what as advocates and activists we need to be skilled at bringing these issues to to local to look to to local issues we have to make them
local issues and for that that takes a lot of skills because you have to actually hoped the be the wider issue into why it is important for the security or the prosperity of this particular city or this particle musicality and this is basically the skill this is a skill that activist and advocates have to have uh we would like it if everyone was it was global and thinking and everyone was you know very open-minded thinking about the entire world but the fact is that most of the time we spend most of our lives in our own city in their own environment and that's why we most of the issues we deal with our local issues and this is why as advic advocates and activists we have to be so skilled at bringing these issues is global issues to the local context thank you for OK is
there any other questions maybe than I have a question and who is standing up these days 4 of for people like you are near office for like for these issues in this area of a millimeter meet out for example that activities from the next next month in in Oslo were having also freedom for a forum that's the Mine Freedom Forum this year and you know the Freedom Forum is kind of it's probably 1 of the highest profile activist forums in the world is going to be from the 22nd and 24th of May and uh you know also is a is is 1 and a half hours by by by you know by flight away and it's going to be excellent features as well as very of the chance to network so what's really different about that different about that meet up is that it really brings together technologists policymakers and activists at the same time and this is where you know uh uh it's an excellent committed to engage but also a lot of ideas come out and a lot of the on that companies and investors are going to be there yeah so in case you have time and of may just go there I think you really very much for this interesting insights and I hope you always have this that and talk to and I would invite you to tweet on free months the street on the house like free at mud and signed a petition please thank you this year there
was a kind of my hand the
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Formale Metadaten

Titel The human story behind the last big scoop in tech news: Ahmed Mansoor
Serientitel re:publica 2017
Anzahl der Teile 234
Autor El-Baghdadi, Iyad
Lizenz CC-Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Deutschland:
Sie dürfen das Werk bzw. den Inhalt zu jedem legalen Zweck nutzen, verändern und in unveränderter oder veränderter Form vervielfältigen, verbreiten und öffentlich zugänglich machen, sofern Sie den Namen des Autors/Rechteinhabers in der von ihm festgelegten Weise nennen und das Werk bzw. diesen Inhalt auch in veränderter Form nur unter den Bedingungen dieser Lizenz weitergeben.
DOI 10.5446/32993
Herausgeber re:publica
Erscheinungsjahr 2017
Sprache Englisch

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Fachgebiet Informatik
Abstract You all might have heard about the Case of Ahmed Mansoor, or rather: his IPhone, on which Security Researchers discovered a very unusual spyware. Since then, Ahmed Mansoors life was impacted in many different - negative- ways.

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