Secrets and Lies: Should we know how far surveillance goes?

The New Statesman will be hosting a series of events at Latitude Festival.

Tuesday 3 June 2014

The New Statesman will be hosting a series of events at the Latitude Festival.

This preview event tackles the question of surveillance in keeping with Latitude’s central arts theme of Secrets and Lies.

Recent revelations have confirmed what people claim always to have known – that governments in the west have the ability to monitor the communications of their own citizens on a vast scale. They claim this capacity is necessary for our safety and even argue that, for it to be effective, we must not know of it.

Is this the case? Does our knowledge compromise our safety? And is it the role of governments to decide on the balance between security and liberty?

Yet after all, terrorist atrocities do happen. Do we not need to be protected? Have we forgotten how many plots have been foiled by covertly gathered intelligence? Are we in danger of complacency?

Or do we see conspiracy and control behind every innocuous fact? Are we unwilling to face up to the cost of maintaining our stable civil society? Then again, have things gone too far? Do we need to push back and demand transparency from the state?

Can there ever be a happy medium between freedom and risk, safety and surveillance?

With this event we will draw together those in the know, either through experience or expertise, to discuss what that balance should be – so that you can make up your own mind. 


Date: Tuesday 3 June 2014



Jimmy Wales – founder of Wikipedia

Luke Harding – author of The Snowden Files

Sir David Omand – ex-director of GCHQ


Venue: Edmond J Safra Lecture Theatre, King's College, The Strand, London WC2R 2LS

Time: Doors open 6pm, event starts 6.30pm

Tickets £15 – buy now


Confirmed panellists

Jimmy Wales

Founder of Wikipedia


Luke Harding 

Author of The Snowden Files and Guardian columnist 


Sir David Omand

Ex-Director of GCHQ and visiting professor at King's College London


Emma Carr 

Acting Director, Big Brother Watch 




Eric King 

Deputy Director, Privacy International 

All panellists subject to change.