Censorship and Surveillance in the Digital Age: The Technological Challenges for Academics

Journal of Global Security Studies, Vol. 1(4), p. 346-355, 2016

28 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2017

See all articles by Leonie Tanczer

Leonie Tanczer

University College London - Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP)

Ryan McConville

University of Bristol

Peter Maynard

Queen's University Belfast

Date Written: November 18, 2016

Abstract

Technologically supported censorship and surveillance practices have become prominent topics and also affect the academic profession. In particular, the growing reliance on digital tools makes scholars as well as their research data and/or participants vulnerable to the consequences of potential censorship. As technological information control is interfering with basic principles of academic freedom, the current paper aims to systematically explore methods which can be used for digital censorship and surveillance as well as ways to resist them. The article is split into three parts. The first section discusses why academia and especially security studies are required to engage in debates on censorship. It touches upon the current societal and political climate, emphasising the need for the inclusion of cryptographic tools. The second section outlines how censorship is technically implementable and how these techniques can impact the academic profession. It discerns various practices of information control, referring to real-life examples. The final section examines what to do against technologically supported censorship and surveillance and is referring to common cryptographic circumvention methods. They can be applied to improve participants’ anonymity and ensure the secure storage, integrity, and transmission of data. Overall, the paper strives to stimulate a discussion about the inclusion of these tools within academia and students’ curricula. It further endeavours to foster a debate about the legal and technical protection of academics that allows for independent, critical research in the digital age to proceed.

Keywords: Censorship, Surveillance, Cryptography, Encryption, Academic Freedom, Internet

Suggested Citation

Tanczer, Leonie and McConville, Ryan and Maynard, Peter, Censorship and Surveillance in the Digital Age: The Technological Challenges for Academics (November 18, 2016). Journal of Global Security Studies, Vol. 1(4), p. 346-355, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3070987

Leonie Tanczer (Contact Author)

University College London - Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) ( email )

Boston House
36–38 Fitzroy Square
London, W1t 3EY
United Kingdom

Ryan McConville

University of Bristol ( email )

University of Bristol,
Senate House, Tyndall Avenue
Bristol, BS8 ITH
United Kingdom

Peter Maynard

Queen's University Belfast ( email )

25 University Square
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Ireland

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