This year we are organizing the second Godwin lecture in collaboration with De Correspondent and Artis. We are proud to announce that Cory Doctorow will be giving the lecture. You might know him from his pieces on internet freedom for The Guardian, his novels, the Boing Boing blog, or from his work as an internet activist.
Update: Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to make a reservation. However, we will be streaming the lecture from 8.30 PM CEST (Amsterdam time).
During his lecture on May 5th, Doctorow will draw comparisons between the NSA and the Stasi. Writing on this topic for The Guardian, CoryDoctorow has said:
“It’s tempting to compare NSA mass surveillance to the GDR’s notorious Stasi, but the differences are more illuminating than the similarities. The Stasi needed one snitch for every 50 people; one NSA spook can keep watch on 10,000 or more people.”
Maurits Martijn, a journalist with De Correspondent who is specialized in technology and surveillance, will moderate the evening. Besides Cory Doctorow, Hans de Zwart, director of Bits of Freedom, and Artis-professor Erik de Jong will say a few words.
The title of the lecture refers to the ‘law’ of Mike Godwin, which states that every online discussion will eventually become a discussion about WWII. Whoever dares to draw a comparison with WWII, will quickly be accused of ‘a Godwin’ and the discussion thread will be closed. The negative connotation of Godwin’s law fosters a taboo around drawing historical comparisons. Bits of Freedom wants to break this taboo and believes that keeping an eye on the past will actually help further the discussion on state surveillance and privacy.