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Activism, Surveillance, and Digital Security Awareness

Audio Recording of Panel Discussion

Activism, Surveillance, and Digital Security Awareness is a panel discussion that Melbourne Activist Legal Support (MALS) ran as part of Victorian Law Week 2021. It’s a discussion about the surveillance technologies currently being used, who is using them, what some of the laws are, and why we should care.

We hear from four great voices in the tech space, discussing these issues: Lilly Ryan, Dr Monique Mann, Sam de Silva, and Keira Patterson. Session moderated by Jennifer Keene-McCann.

This discussion took place 20th May 2021, and was made possible by a grant from the Victoria Law Foundation.


Lilly Ryan is a penetration tester, digital security consultant, and public speaker who serves on the board of Digital Rights Watch. Lilly specialises in web application security, privacy education, and the history of technology-related issues, bringing these topics to an international audience. She believes in the power of consumer and tech worker action to help the technology industry better serve the people it affects.

Dr Monique Mann is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology and member of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University. Mann’s research expertise concerns three main interrelated lines of inquiry: (1) new technology for policing and surveillance, (2) human rights and social justice, and (3) governance and regulation. She is Vice Chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation and Vice President of Liberty Victoria.

Sam de Silva works across a number of interconnected fields including digital security, human rights and media freedom. He was involved with producing the GroundSafe report that investigated digital security practice by human rights defenders, and works part-time with OPTF as the organisation’s Engagement Advisor. Sam has a background in computer science and media production, experience setting up and running organisations and conceptualising and promoting innovating technologies that empower communities and can help drive positive change.

Keira Patterson is a software engineer and half of the team behind activist meeting and task management software Meetniq. Pre-tech, she worked in people management, organising and policy. The jump made her particularly interested in translating privacy and security concepts to lay audiences and helping tech be more human-friendly.

Melbourne Activist Legal Support (MALS)

is an independent volunteer group of lawyers, human rights advocates, law students and para-legals. MALS trains and fields Legal Observer Teams at protest events, provides training and advice to activist groups on legal support structures, and develops and distributes legal resources for social movements. MALS works in conjunction with law firms, community legal centres, and a range of local, national, and international human rights agencies. We stand up for civil and political rights.

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