Beyond Snowden: Whistleblowing and Resistance

Our digital behavior is monitored all the time. Ostensibly, for reasons like marketing or the prevention of crime. In many cases though, surveillance is used as a means to gain power. The citizens’ right to privacy is infringed on by their own government’s politics. This is where whistleblowers like Edward Snowden come in and expose unethical practices of governmental organisations like the NSA. By doing so they not only risk their jobs – they often face criminal charges and their integrity is questioned. Wikileaks and other archives support whistleblowers by publishing their information, but are under fire themselves. When is whistleblowing acceptable, when is it necessary? Which other forms of resistance against digital surveillance are there?

Let’s talk about Whistleblowing!

Whistleblowing and the publication of state secrets have proven powerful strategies to provide citizens with a new baseline of what they can know about clandestine governmental politics. At the same time, harsh reactions against the involved actors have demonstrated the political delicacy of such publications, and a general insecurity about how to deal with this new type of information politics. At the transmediale 2016, hacker and internet activist Jacob Applebaum, Markus Beckedahl, founder of and other experts answer questions from the audience and debate about ways in which whistleblowing and the publication of secret material can become a legitimate and well-respected part of democracy.


Tacit Futures: Building Snowden Archives

WikiLeaks is building an unprecedented library consisting of millions of leaked documents. The Tacit Futures dialogues investigate the platform’s history and its latest offspring. Bringing together pioneering archivists of the files leaked by Snowden, this round table is a culturally significant world premiere, aiming to reflect the motivations and challenges experienced by each initiative. M.C. McGrathKrystian WoznickiAndrew Clement, Evan LightDeborah Natsios & John Young first explore, which is widely considered the precursor of digital leaking platforms and which has been the first organization to start systematically collecting Snowden documents. They also discuss the Snowden Document Search, the Snowden Digital Surveillance Archive, and the Snowden Archive-in-a-Box.

All talks by transmediale


The digital surveillance state – Quo vadis, Democracy?

What happens to the classic concept of democracy in times of mass surveillance, data espionage and cooperation between the BND and NSA? How was the NSA scandal in the US and in Germany included and what can – and must – we learn from this? Famous American whistleblowers like Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack discuss these questions with Konstantin von Notz, Martina Renner and former Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar as well as the historian Prof. Dr. Josef Foschepoth. The peace activist and former military analyst Daniel Ellsberg and the former FBI agent Coleen Rowley start this discussion about current trends of surveillance, censorship and the dismantling of civil rights – and the need for political control of the secret services. The session is a collaboration of Courage Foundation,,  ZEIT Online and the transmediale.

All talks by Courage Foundation


SAMIZDATA: Strategies for Resistance

More than two years after the first of Edward Snowden’s disclosures – what does it mean today to speak about “resistance” on the net and beyond? In the past years the world  has been shocked by revelations about state surveillance networks and their inconsideration of citizen’s rights. By going beyond fear and paranoia of surveillance, this panel reflects on the impact of the Snowden case, and on the upcoming frontiers of action and awareness for hackers, activists and artists in the present context of geopolitical powers. Without undermining the need of encrypting our data, and protecting our physical and online existence, hacktivist Jaromil, researcher Jørgen Johansen, researcher and feminist techno/activist Sophie Toupin and Valie Djordjevic are in search of positive alternatives and horizons for the kind of consciousness cultivated by hackers and activists.

Disruption Network Lab is a platform of events and research focused on hacktivism, art and disruption. The series of conference events at Kunstquartier Bethanien in Berlin is archived on Voice Republic. The goal of the Disruption Network Lab is to find new possible routes of social and political action within the framework of digital culture, network economy and hacktivism, focusing on the disruptive potential of art. The Disruption Network Lab is a conceptual and practical zone where artists, hackers, networkers, critical thinkers and entrepreneurs enter into a dialogue. The programme is developed through and keynote events, artistic presentations and theoretical debates.

All talks by Disruption Network Lab

WikiLeaks, Manning and Snowden: From USA to USB

From publishing hundreds of thousands of classified documents, to covering the secret trial of military whistleblower Chelsea Manning, to rescuing NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, two women meet at the re:publica in Berlin and discuss what it’s like to go head-to-head with the US government. Journalist Alexa O’Brien, who was the most prominent reporter covering the largest leak trial in US history, interviews WikiLeaks Investigations Editor Sarah Harrison, who is  Julian Assange‘s adviser and helped Edward Snowden obtain asylum in Russia. The fascinating interview covers publishing classified documents, protecting press sources, and the dramas surrounding the WikiLeaks, Manning and Snowden cases. From unique personal experience the impact and importance of the publication of accessible archives of censored material on the internet becomes very clear. The US government’s treatment of whistleblowers and innovative and effective publishers is seen from a new perspective.


Photo: greensefa on flickr

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