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Lessons from Snowden: His Lawyer on Whistleblowing & Surveillance

March 22, 2019, 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

A poster of the event: "Lessons from Snowden: His Lawyer on Whistleblowing & Surveillance". It features a picture of Edward Snowden with his Lawyer. On the side is the event information. Time: March 22nd, 2019 at 7:00PM. Location: Hart House. Address: 7 Hart House Circle. Postal code: M5S 3H3

When: 22nd of March 2019, 7:00PM – 9:30PM (must arrive by 7:20PM to guarantee your spot)

Where: Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto, ON M5S 3H3

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Thanks for all the interest in this event! Tickets are now sold out, but feel free to message us on Facebook with your email or use the ‘contact the organizer’ on Eventbrite and we will send you tickets as space opens up.Be sure to use your utoronto.ca email if you have one as we will be prioritizing students, and click ‘interested’ to get event updates as more tickets may be released closer to the event.—————————————————————————————
In light of recent digital security scandals involving Huawei and Facebook, the Hart House Debates & Dialogue Committee is proud to present this conversation with Robert Tibbo, Edward Snowden’s lawyer, in collaboration with Amnesty International U of T.In 2013, 29-year-old NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the US government had been conducting mass internet and telephone surveillance on its citizens.The leaked documents uncovered secret court orders directing companies such as Facebook, Google, and Verizon to regularly release user information, spying activities on allies such as the EU, and the circumvention of online encryption, among others. The global implications of the scandal ignited lively debate about post-9/11 surveillance overreach, the civil rights of whistleblowers, and made people critical of the surveillance acts of their own country. Anticipating persecution by the US government, Snowden fled to Hong Kong. For legal counsel and personal protection, he sought out Canadian lawyer Robert Tibbo. With Tibbo’s expertise, Snowden was able to hide in the slums of Hong Kong, leak an unprecedented amount of documents to the media, and managed to seek asylum in Russia — where he has remained a fugitive since. The asylum requests by the 3 migrant families who hid Snowden in Hong Kong were denied in the course of a single day in 2017, leaving them political pawns. A movement has since started to request the Canadian government grant them refugee status.What lessons can we learn from 2013? How does Snowden and his story change how we approach whistleblowing? What is the state of Canadian digital surveillance? What can citizens do to protect their own data in light of this?We hope you’ll join us on March 22 for our capstone event, featuring a post-reception for all our guests.

Mr. Robert Tibbo | LL.B, Canadian Human Rights Lawyer & Legal Counsel to Edward Snowden

Robert Tibbo is a Canadian national known for his work as a lawyer in human rights. Previously a chemical engineering graduate from McGill University, he went on to receive his law degree from the University of Auckland, focusing on administrative and constitutional law. Tibbo has been active in wider social advocacy, having previously served as a director of Vision First, an NGO that provides human rights advocacy and humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers in Hong Kong. He has defended many notable clients including Edward Snowden, the Snowden Refugees, and Xiao Hui. As Snowden’s lawyer, Tibbo successfully secured his safety through the UNHCR in Hong Kong, facilitated his hiding in Hong Kong to avoid extraordinary rendition by the US government, and ensured his safe passage out of Hong Kong to Russia in June 2013. Tibbo has appeared in a number of documentary films including Oscar-winning film “Citizen Four”, and “Terminal F/Chasing Snowden”. He was also portrayed in the Oliver Stone film “Snowden”. As of November 2017, he went into exile from Hong Kong, having had assistance to leave the jurisdiction from Lawyers Without Borders Canada and the Officers from the Canadian Consulate in Hong Kong. Presently, he continues to act for Snowden (in Moscow) and the Snowden Refugees (in Hong Kong). Tibbo has been responsible for engaging and working with a group of Montreal based lawyers to act and file refugee applications for the Snowden Refugee in Canada. He also continues to act for another forty-plus asylum seekers in Hong Kong.

Dr. Brenda McPhail | Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Brenda McPhail became Director of the Privacy, Technology, and Surveillance Project in 2015, after first working from 2013 as a project coordinator for the grant-funded Pathways to Privacy and TalkRights projects. Brenda focuses on advocacy and public education about privacy rights and the ways in which these rights are at risk in contemporary society. This includes privacy in relation to national security, intelligence, and public safety surveillance, privacy and information sharing practices and policies in the public and private sector, and privacy in the social context of existing and emerging technologies. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto Faculty of Information and holds Master’s degrees in Information Studies and English. In her peer-reviewed work, she has explored do-it-yourself approaches to privacy protective identification, privacy risks of RFID-enhanced driver’s licenses, identity performance in government service interactions, Canadian ePassport development, attitudes to video surveillance, and privacy issues inherent in connected cars.

Ms. Kate Robertson | Markson Law & Citizen Lab Fellow

Kate Robertson practices criminal and regulatory litigation representing both individual and Corporate Clients at Markson Law, where she retains a particular interest in computer-based investigations and crime. As a Fellow at The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, she consults on constitutional law and policy issues relating to cybersecurity, law enforcement, surveillance, and national security. Prior to her call to the bar, Kate served as a law clerk to the Honourable Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella of the Supreme Court of Canada. Kate has worked with the United Nations in Cambodia at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. She regularly provides pro bono services to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, and the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. Kate is a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law with honours.

Dr. Jonathan Obar | Department of Communication Studies, York U

Jonathan A. Obar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies. He also serves as a Research Associate with the Quello Center for Telecommunication Management and Law at Michigan State University, where he previously worked for four years. His teaching and research focus on information and communication policy, and the relationship between digital technologies, civil liberties and the inclusiveness of public culture. Recent academic publications address Big Data and privacy, internet routing and NSA surveillance, network neutrality, and digital activism. Jonathan has served as a Research Fellow with the public policy think tank the New America Foundation and the media reform organization Free Press, as a researcher with the Open Society Foundations, and as a Senior Advisor to the Wikimedia Foundation’s Wikipedia Education Program. Jonathan has a Master of Arts degree in Media Studies from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in Mass Communications from Penn State University.

Megan Siyi Liu (Moderator) | University of Toronto

Megan Siyi Liu is a second-year student at the University of Toronto studying in the Rotman Commerce program with a focus in Strategy and Innovation. By pursuing a career in consulting or entrepreneurship, she hopes to make the world a more sustainable and ethical place. She serves as the Director of External Communications at Hart House Debates and Dialogue Committee and is the incoming President at the Rotman Commerce Consulting Association.

7:00PM-7:30PM: Registration, Hart House Great Hall
7:30PM-8:30PM: Keynote by Robert Tibbo, followed by a moderated panel discussion and Q&A
8:30-9:30PM: Catered post-reception for guests, Hart House Music Room
Tickets are free by registration, and available through Eventbrite. Please note that arrival by 7:20PM is required to guarantee your spot.If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at hhddc.communications@utoronto.caFor any accessibility requests or comments, please contact marco.adamovic@utoronto.ca


March 22, 2019
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm


Hart House
7 Hart House Circle
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H3 Canada