Ten Years After Snowden Revelations: Are we still Looking for Balancing Privacy and Security?

Ten Years After Snowden Revelations: Are we still Looking for Balancing Privacy and Security?


In 2013, Edward Snowden publicly released a vast trove of classified documents from the United States National Security Agency (NSA). These documents exposed long-standing extensive surveillance activities conducted by the U.S. government, encompassing foreign and domestic political leaders, as well as ordinary citizens. This revelation sparked global attention and had a profound and enduring impact. It not only prompted a reevaluation of the relationship between mass surveillance and data privacy worldwide but also accelerated the adoption of encryption technologies.

Within the internet ecosystem, the tech community began to strengthen and promote various encryption protocols following the Snowden revelations. In 2014, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) published RFC 7258, advocating that “intrusion is a form of attack.” Let’s Encrypt began issuing free certificates in 2015, encouraging websites to adopt encryption protocols. Since then, various encryption technologies aimed at safeguarding DNS traffic, internet browsing history, and email content privacy have rapidly advanced. “Protecting individual privacy” has become, at least from a technical perspective, a fundamental expectation for basic internet services.

However, efforts to protect individual privacy have consistently encountered opposing forces. In addition to the influence of “surveillance capitalism” in the business world, national governments have consistently claimed the authority to inspect encrypted content under the pretext of safeguarding national security. The forthcoming Online Safety Bill in the United Kingdom, which is set to become law, requires tech companies, including social media platforms and end-to-end encrypted communication software, to monitor and scan their platforms for immediate detection and reporting of child sexual abuse content to law enforcement. Similarly, the European Union is also contemplating similar legislation.

As stated in a recent IETF draft reflecting on the ten-year anniversary of the Snowden event, even human rights can sometimes conflict, necessitating a trade-off between one right in favor of another. How to maintain a balance between privacy and security amidst various pressures, including legal, market, and internet centralization pressures, is a classic topic that demands engagement and discussion among stakeholders such as governments, businesses, civil society, and the tech community.

Time & Venue

Time: 2023/09/20   02:00-04:00PM

Venue: IEAT International Conference Center Meeting 11F Room 1 (No. 350, Songjiang Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City)


14:00-14:05  Introduce
14:05-15:45  Panel Discussion

  • Moderator
    – Sung-Mei Hsiung, Attorney, Deloitte Legal
  • Panelists:
    -Singing Li, CEO, Open Culture Foundation
    -Hsin-Hsuan Lin, Assistant Professor, The Department of Political Science of National Cheng Kung University
    -Po-Wen Chi,  Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering, National Taiwan Normal University
    -Chen-Ching Huang, Sub-Division Chief, Technology Crime Prevention Center, Criminal Investigation Bureau

15:45-16:00  Q&A

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