Hacks/Hackers Talk

Duncan Campbell at Hacks/Hackers talk in Brighton, July 2012


Duncan gave a talk at the Hacks/Hackers meet-up in London on 4th July and again in Brighton on the 10th.


Inspired by the coalition government's recent Communications Data Bill, he discussed his role in unraveling and exposing state surveillance operations over the last 40 years - during which time, he's had his phones tapped, been followed by MI5, and experienced the joy of having his home raided by Special Branch - twice.


Read the synopsis for the talk, live blogs and audience reaction below.


Taking on the unseen snoopers

This month, the government launched an obscurely worded Communications Data Bill intended to place every kind of internet communication and web access under official scrutiny.

Investigative journalist Duncan Campbell has spent nearly 40 years reporting on secret national and global structures of electronic surveillance.

In 1976, he published the first article describing the now well known signals intelligence activities carried out by GCHQ Cheltenham. (See The Eavesdroppers.)  In consequence, two American journalists were deported. He and another journalist were arrested.

In 1978, he faced trial at the Old Bailey and up to 30 years imprisonment for carrying out the type of research into government activity that everyone now does on the net, thousands of times every day. (See Ferrets or Skunks.)

In 1987, the BBC and his home and magazine offices were raided after he made a BBC2 programme revealing government plans to launch Britain's first ever intelligence satellite. The BBC Director General was sacked. (See Banned in the UK.)

In 1988, he revealed the existence of the Echelon network of commercial satellite monitoring stations, and the "Dictionary" system for storing and analysing intercepted private messages. (See Somebody's Listening.)

In 2000, he prepared a well-known series of reports on Echelon for the European Parliament. (See Echelon Report.)

Since 2000, Duncan has also worked as an accredited computer forensic expert, and has audited and examined thousands of call records, call recordings and location data files used in criminal cases, as well as dozens of computers seized from terrorism suspects.

Duncan is a member of the Foundation for Information Policy Research Advisory Council, teaches media studies at Bournemouth University, and is currently preparing reports on offshore accounts and on the role of electronic surveillance in the Syrian conflict.

He will lead a discussion on how hacks and hackers can educate an economically battered electorate in the issues of privacy and security that are claimed to underlie the government's plan to open the Internet to their unseen snoopers.

Many thanks to Sarah Marshall and co of Journalism.co.uk for organising the Brighton event and to Joanna Geary for the London talk

Alan Tinsworth of 'One Man and his dog' conducted a live blog of the event.

Click here to read

Ex-Guardian journalist, Bobby Johnson also spoke at the event, describing his new venture 'Matter.'