One of the most ambitious global privacy initiatives of recent years will be launched in Brussels at the end of January 2015.
The project, Code Red, was initiated by the Privacy Surgeon’s publisher, Simon Davies, one of the pioneers of the privacy movement, Its concept development planning began in 2012, and detailed work commenced last April in response to mounting concerns that government surveillance and intrusion has escalated – despite the Snowden national security disclosures in 2013. The project will work to accelerate reform of secret institutions and will provide support for whistleblowers in those domains.
Code Red will be a strategic think tank and campaign clearinghouse to provide new resources and tactical advice to human rights groups across the world.
The project’s steering group includes many influential figures in civil society, among them MI5 whistleblower Annie Machon, former US Congress member and presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, former Wikimedia General Counsel Mike Godwin, Sunil Abraham, head of CIS India, OpenMedia’s David Christopher, Access Now’s Raegan McDonald, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s International Rights Director Katitza Rodriguez and the former editor of Index on Censorship Judith Vidal-Hall.
The group also includes influential figures in the tech sector, including Jacob Appelbaum, the celebrated hacker who works at the core of Wikileaks, the Tor project and the Snowden disclosures, Whitfield Diffie, one of the pioneers of public key cryptography and Bruce Schneier, possibly the world’s most influential security expert.
The initiative will be committed to a range of objectives, but foremost among these is to mentor the development of new and innovative projects that directly engage the surveillance menace. Among these is the protection of human rights defenders and campaigners who face a range of often unlawful threats from government agencies. It is clearly time to raise the stakes for secretive agencies that refuse to embrace accountability – and to do so fearlessly and relentlessly.
One of the most critically important challenges for Code Red will also be to help build a stronger bridge between the technical and the policy worlds. In this domain Code Red will provide logistics, strategic and resource support for technical initiatives that create direct countermeasures against surveillance.
The project is now looking for supporters from various disciplines in policy, law, technology, campaigning and administration to join the initiative.