The extraordinary scope and intensity of NSA surveillance programs have governments and enterprises around the world scrambling to reduce their exposure to rampant state surveillance. Canadian universities’ growing outsourcing of their e-services, particularly to US corporations, have put them on the frontline of the debate on how to respond to the recent Snowden revelations. Outsourcing of email, calendaring, data sharing and other communications services promises improved functionality and enhanced collaboration features while saving costs. However, it brings new surveillance risks, especially when contracting with companies involved with the NSA’s PRISM program, such as Microsoft and Google.
This teach-in aims to help affected users, and Canadians more generally, understand the issues at stake as well as contribute to better-informed decisions around university e-service outsourcing. The one-day event seeks to bring together privacy, security, surveillance and outsourcing experts with representatives of various stakeholders in an open and stimulating exchange of views.
The timing and focus of this teach-in is occasioned by the University of Toronto’s proposed outsourcing of staff and faculty email (UTORmail) to Microsoft. With the official consultation process nearly completed, a decision on the proposal is expected in the coming weeks.