Goethe Institute will answer questions about the digital environment

A series of events held between September and November will focus on data, global control and monitoring.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: Sme)

Billions of contents and data of various types, which are available for people across the globe, are generated every day. With every ‘like’ on the social networks and updated pictures we leave a strong data track.

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How our personal data are used and what will happen with the information in the long term are the questions the Goethe Institute in Bratislava will try to answer during a series of events entitled Data:Democracy that will take place between September 15 and December 6.

Exhibition points to supervision and censorship

The inspiration for the project was an exhibition entitled “Global Control and Censorship”. It will also come to Slovakia, with the opening taking place in the New Synagogue in Žilina on October 13.

It is based on the collaboration with a network of scientists, journalists, activists, and artists in some 20 countries around the world. The exhibition was prepared with the help of organisations like the German PEN Centre, the Chaos Computer Club, Reporters Without Borders, and the platforms netzpolitik.org, digitalcourage.de and WikiLeaks.

“The aim of the exhibition is to broaden the public discussion about methods of supervision and censorship, not only because of the increasing number of cases in the media, but also because the investigation of these practices is accompanied with numerous obstacles,” reads the Goethe Institute’s press release.

Among the exhibited works is also the installation of Swiss artist Marc Lee, entitled “Me”, which points to how the secret services and corporations can locate the users of the Instagram application.

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The installation entitled “Filter Bubble”, by KASTEL in cooperation with ZKM Karlsruhe, shows how location, searching and the profile of users determine what internet users will see.

The exhibition will come to Žilina from Tallinn, Estonia.

Discussions, workshops and more

Apart from the exhibition, the Goethe Institute is preparing a series of other events. The programme of the Data:Democracy project starts in Bratislava on September 15 during the open doors day at the Goethe Institute and the Good Market on Panenská Street.

There will be a lecture about what is happening with our personal data, what our rights are and what we should be prepared for. There will also be an opening of the site-specific installation entitled “Are you content?” by the JaOnMi CreatureS grouping. It wants to show that we are the creators of the content, and that from the creators the content is generated. The installation is an analogy for our double life as it takes place both in the physical and virtual world, the Goethe Institute informed.

The official beginning of the project will take place on September 21 at the Institute. There will be a discussion about data and their use. Guests at the events will be lawyer Tomáš Mičo, expert in privacy protection and co-founder of the Súkromie.Digital project, and Dirk Engling from the Chaos Computer Club. The discussion will be hosted by artist, author and cultural activist Dušan Barok.

In cooperation with Progressbar Hackerspace, the Goethe Institute is preparing three Crypto:Party events that will be held in September-November. Cryptoparty is a global, decentralised movement whose aim is to inform people about privacy in the digital environment. People will learn more about how to protect themselves in virtual space, what methods to use for encrypted communication and how to remain anonymous on the internet. The guests at the events will be experts in internet safety, including Tomáš Zaťko of Citadelo and Pavol Lupták of Nethemba.

Part of the project is also a section at the festival of documentary films One World in selected cinemas in Bratislava and Košice. They will screen films like In Google We Trust and The Human Face of Big Data.

Non-profit organisations and small companies will be able to attend a workshop focusing on meeting the legal requirements to process personal data (October 2), while the wider public will have a chance to attend a workshop on how to protect themselves from internet threats (October 9).

Stefan Wehrmeyer from Germany will be a guest at the discussion prepared in cooperation with the ethics watchdog Fair-Play Alliance, entitled “When numbers talk: how data can help democracy”, scheduled for October 25.

Moreover, author of the bestseller “Why Do We Elect Madmen” Roman Maria Koidl will attend the Central European Forum held between November 18 and 20.

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