Scottish PEN organises free screening of Haystack documentary with Q+A

Alice Muir

Scottish PEN to showcase a screening of The Haystack documentary at CCA on 17 August

SCOTTISH PEN, an organisation of activists who campaign for freedom of speech, have organised a screening of The Haystack documentary, an investigation into 21st century surveillance in the UK and the drafted Investigatory Powers (IP) Bill which will support it. on Wednesday 17 August at the CCA in Glasgow.

The documentary, which was produced by four young journalists behind the Scenes of Reason project and will be screened on Wednesday 17 August at the CCA in Glasgow, features ex-GCHQ director Sir David Omand, ex-NSA analyst and whistleblower Bill Binney, and representatives from Privacy International and Big Brother Watch. Scenes of Reason raised £12,000 during a crowdfunding campaign in order to make the production of the documentary possible.

Scenes of Reason was founded by Olivia Cappuccini after realising in her early twenties that she felt uninformed about everyday news and current affairs. The Scenes of Reason website aims to decode the news for a young audience to provide some context to breaking news stories.

The documentary will explore the drafting and development of the controversial Investogatory Powers (IP) Bill, nicknamed the ‘Snoopers Charter’, which is an attempt by the UK Government to expand surveillance powers across the United Kingdom in what it says will help it tackle terror threats.

“It's like this huge hoover sucking up all the data; the data sits there and many public officials will be able to access it without adequate controls, in my view.” Joanna Cherry QC MP

So far, the draft IP Bill has not been supported by the SNP, and in particular Joanna Cherry QC MP has vocalised her skepticism about the dangers of collecting bulk data, which includes, for example, the internet browsing history of every single internet user in the UK, regardless of whether they have given the UK Government any reason to be suspicious of their online activity or not.

A Q&A will follow the screening of the documentary with The Haystack co-producer and founder of Scenes of Reason, Olivia Cappuccini; Joanna Cherry QC MP;  David Irvine, founder of Maidsafe, a secure internet network; and Professor Lillian Edwards, an expert in e-governance and internet law at the University of Strathclyde.

All four panel members have an active interest in challenging any limitation on the public’s freedom of information and freedom of speech.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC has publicly opposed the draft IP Bill. In a previous interview with CommonSpace, she said:“It's like this huge hoover sucking up all the data; the data sits there and many public officials will be able to access it without adequate controls, in my view.”

David Irvine is the founder of Maidsafe, a Troon-based company which has created a safer, more secure internet network. The team at Maidsafe believe that internet user data should be stored and controlled by internet users themselves, as opposed to large companies such as Google and Facebook.

Professor Lillian Edwards is an academic at the University of Strathclyde and a frequent speaker on issues of internet law and intellectual property. Her current research interests revolve around the topics of online privacy, cybercrime, internet pornography and digital copyright enforcement among others. Edwards is the assosciate director of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Centre for IP and Technology Law (SCRIPT) and has consulted Google and the EU Commission among others.

The screening will take place on Wednesday 17 August 2016 from 6.15pm-8pm at the Centre for Contemporary Arts.

Book your tickets here.

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