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Concordia hosts whistleblower Edward Snowden at a free online event exploring gamified surveillance

MAY 13: The cybersecurity expert is the keynote at the GAM(BL)ING: Commodification of Leisure in the Digital Era symposium
May 3, 2021
By Taylor Tower

Our lives, both private and public, are increasingly tied to digital and online platforms.

The GAM(BL)ING: Commodification of Leisure in the Digital Era virtual symposium, hosted by Concordia from May 10 to 13, will deal with that reality as it explores how ubiquitous mobile technologies are shaping the nature of gaming and gambling.

Edward Snowden, perhaps the world’s highest-profile whistleblower, will give the closing keynote interview on May 13. Snowden will examine how contemporary digital games harness mass surveillance and the possibilities that hacking gamified surveillance systems present for players to preserve privacy and anonymity.

“We are excited to hear Edward Snowden’s unique take on gaming and feel his presentation will raise awareness around the relationship between the personal information economy, games and surveillance,” says Sylvia Kairouz, holder of the Research Chair on Gambling at Concordia and director of HERMES.

The four-day GAM(BL)ING symposium is organized by Concordia’s Research Team on Lifestyle and Multidisciplinary Research/Équipe de recherche Habitudes de vie Et Recherches MultidisciplinairES (HERMES) and the Research Chair on Gambling. The event brings together experts from 19 countries, including researchers, students, clinicians and others in the gaming and addiction studies field.

GAM(BL)ING is a collaboration between Concordia and Université Laval, Université de Sherbrooke and Université du Québec à Montréal, as well as universities across Canada and Europe.

“While Snowden is best known for exposing mass surveillance practices around the world, it was his experience with games and play that motivated the symposium team to invite him,” says Martin French, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and a member of HERMES.

“In his biography, Snowden describes gaming as having had a formative role in his life,” adds French.

The virtual presentation, What I learned from games: playing for and against mass surveillance, is free and will be followed by a conversation between Snowden and journalist Azeb Wolde-Giorghis, with a moderated audience Q&A.

About the HERMES research team and the Research Chair on Gambling

The HERMES research team examines emerging hybrid gambling forms and their impact on the everyday life of individuals and communities. Since 2012, the team of university researchers and clinicians specialized in the field of addiction studies have been developing scientific projects that integrate the specific needs of clinical settings.

The Research Chair on Gambling, a first in Quebec, was created in April 2012. In close collaboration with its partners and collaborators, the chair’s mission is to provide leadership in gambling risk prevention in Quebec.

Register for the free presentation on gaming and surveillance by Edward Snowden on May 13, presented as part of
Concordia’s GAM(BL)ING: Commodification of Leisure in the Digital Era virtual symposium.


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