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Avast security ambassador Garry Kasparov speaking at 2017 re:publica

Erin Nelson, 7 May 2017

Kasparov will discuss power and propaganda in the global, digital age with Claudio Guarnieri of Citizen Lab and Amnesty International.

While most people know Garry Kasparov as the chess grandmaster who in 1985 became history’s youngest world chess champion, since his 2005 retirement he’s become an outspoken expert on the intersection of human rights, free speech, and technology.

The Human Rights Foundation chairman and Avast security ambassador will discuss propaganda in the digital age at re:publica 17 in Berlin with Claudio Guarnieri, Citizen Lab security researcher and Amnesty Technology and Security Without Borders senior technologist. Guarnieri has extensively researched and reported human rights violations through digital technology countries including Iran, Azerbaijan, and the United States. 

“Information ‘starvation’ under closed regimes robs the public of its ability to make informed decisions, but the other extreme – a flood of disinformation – also has very harmful effects.”

In the Monday, 8 May re:publica session, “Hacking Democracy: Power and Propaganda in the Digital Age,” moderated by internet politics activist Geraldine De Bastion, Kasparov and Guarnieri will talk about how state and corporate actors use and misuse the internet for their political and commercial interests, and how this affects human rights, individual freedom, privacy, and security. They will also debate how a balance between regulations and individual empowerment could be established.

Having witnessed while a Soviet citizen how governments abuse information to strengthen their own power, Kasparov became a pro-democracy leader in Russia and a defender of individual freedom around the world. As he recently wrote for security news publication The Parallax, "Information 'starvation' under closed regimes robs the public of its ability to make informed decisions, but the other extreme – a flood of disinformation – also has very harmful effects. … Instead of asking whether disinformation will persist – because it will, as long as it is deemed effective – we must ask how we will defend ourselves against it."

Image: Nicolas Raymond

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