Hundreds of people concerned for their privacy and opposed to NSA spying practices descended on the courtyard of the AT&T building in San Francisco last night on a clement winter evening.
The well-organized event, The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance, was flanked by police ironically attending to keep surveillance on the amassing crowd.
Former AT&T technician and government whistleblower, Mark Klein, took to the stage sharing his story of how he discovered his employer was in cahoots with the NSA.
Mr Klein told the assembled crowd that he had been tasked to work on the wire that would stream documents into a secret room and was shocked to find that both domestic and international customer activity was being tracked. “Here I am being forced to connect to a Big Brother machine,” he said.
The evening’s proceedings included ample video footage projected onto a windowless side wall of the AT&T building. The popular Police song: “Every Breath You Take” (I’ll be watching you) played and people sang along as the lyrics were displayed before them.
Media clips of TV news interviews with Mark Klein were shown as well as a clip of President Barack Obama’s address about the NSA which was robustly heckled. Passing cars during the city’s peak hour tooted their horns prompting an explosion of cheers and waving.
AVAST polls its U.S. community of users and more than 45,000 come through with their Sunday prediction
It’s cold in New Jersey but football fever is HOT with only two days before the Big Game and showdown between the two championship teams.
Who will win?
AVAST has joined in the football hysteria by leveraging its vast number of users across the U.S. to help us determine a winner.
Denver or Seattle?
We posed this question early in the week and more than 45,000 people have since cast their vote.
“AVAST has built a large community of people based on its sharing our free and premium antivirus software products, so we turned to our users to help us predict a winner and our AVAST friends in the U.S. responded with gusto,” AVAST product manager, Martin Zima, said.
The result is consistent with current polling predictions which place Denver ahead of Seattle for a win on Sunday but not so consistent with picks from furry friends Teddy Bear and Eli who have made accurate choices in the past.
Denver has many formidable players, the spotlight of course on quarterback Peyton Manning. Richard Sherman has been the darling of Seattle and arguably the number one defensive player in the league.
Some say the outcome for Sunday will be down to the weather and which side best handles the inclement conditions.
Here at AVAST‘s headquarters in Prague, we know all about competing in the face of snow, sleet and rain.
AVAST wishes both teams good luck on Sunday, and we look forward to a great game.
AVAST was invited by the Czech School of California to participate in a panel discussion on Saturday 9 November about Silicon Valley Trends for 2014.
The panel consisted of three successful Czech companies operating in the US and featured Jonathan Penn, Director of Strategy from AVAST, Martin Viktora from KERIO Technologies, which distributes software that allows businesses to connect, communicate, and collaborate securely, and Hubert Palan from GoodData, a nextgen data analytics company.
The panel was moderated by Czech Ambassador Petr Gandalovič and drew several questions for AVAST around online security and cyber crime from the interested audience.
One member asked for AVAST’s tips on how the audience would be able to better protect themselves from online security threats. Jonathan cautioned to be wary about things that may seem unusual or that cause worry as well recommended the audience install an antivirus software on their PC, Mac and mobile devices saying the current themes in security tend to concern privacy issues.
Panel discussion covered thoughts on benefits and challenges of being a Czech company in the United States where all three speakers spoke of the advantages of having talented Czech engineers working for them. It was noted the Czech Republic is renowned for its strong grounding in math and science and provides highly skilled software engineers.
Company and job loyalty and a lower cost of wages comparable to living costs were also noted as providing significant advantage in the context that Silicon Valley is full of start-ups where company loyalty is fickle and employee salary expectations higher.
All agreed their companies were adept at collaborating diverse perspectives with a world view that they saw as an advantage to their company’s business edge.
Disadvantages were cited in terms of the time zone difference that can make contact with people challenging as well the need to travel long distances for face to face meetings.
They all saw a bright future for their company’s success in the US and predicted more Czech companies will begin to realize business success and growth in Silicon Valley.
More than 60 business people, with an interest in the Czech Republic, attended the panel session.
Deviating from the standard dress standard one grows accustomed to seeing in Silicon Valley (jeans, sweatshirt and sneakers), the guests looked smart and elegant dressed in black tie for the inaugural Czech Gala Event that followed the panel.
The Gala celebrated the best of the Czech Republic in California and was to honor the former U.S. Secretary of State, George P. Shultz, the highest award of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his role in implementing foreign policy that led to the conclusion of the Cold War.
The Gala was a benefit for the Czech School of California, headquartered in Palo Alto, California. The School, which opened in 2012, is the largest accredited Czech charterschool in the US with four Bay Area locations.
Both the Panel and Gala were held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City, California.
Photo – L to R: Moderator Czech Ambassador Petr Gandalovič with Martin Viktora, The Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Kerio Technologies; Jonathan Penn, Director of Strategy, AVAST; and Hubert Palan, VP of Product Management Good Data wearing their ‘CzechTech.net’ vests presented by (far right) Richard Pivnicka, the Honorary Consul General of the Czech Republic in San Francisco.