Black Code (2016) Movie Script

[clock ticking]
[man] We are going through
the most profound change
in communication technologies in
all of human history right now.
Printing press, radio, telegraph,
television. All very important.
But I believe we're going
through the most transformative,
purely on the basis
of three technologies.
Mobile, social media
and cloud computing.
They share one
very important characteristic.
And that's the amount
of private information.
Information that used to be in
our desktops or filing cabinets,
even in our heads,
that we now
entrust to third parties.
Data that we are conscious of,
and deliberate about,
like the e-mails we send
and the tweets we post.
But it also includes
a lot of information
that we're completely,
or mostly, unconscious about.
So if you take my mobile phone,
even when I'm not using it,
it's emitting a pulse,
trying to locate the nearest Wi-Fi
router or cell phone exchange,
and within that beacon is
the make and model of the phone,
the fact that it's my phone,
because my name is attached
to the operating system,
and most importantly,
the geolocation of the phone.
[drone humming]
[man speaking Portuguese]
[Deibert continues] We are
leaving this digital exhaust
that contains extraordinarily precise
information about our lives,
our social relationships reduced
to trillions of data points
that form now this new ethereal
layer around the planet
that's only growing
in all directions.
Capabilities are being put
in the hands of policy makers,
five years ago, they'd never
imagine that they would have.
This is where big data
meets Big Brother.
- [folk music]
- [chuckles]
[man with accent]
Should be here.
[American man] It is kind
of in a rock, I think.
[American man #2]
Yeah, the entrance is in a rock.
- [speaking over each other]
- Or a bunker.
Oh, yeah, the bunker.
It is down there!
[driver] There is a
bunker under here.
- [man] Yeah.
- It is between 33 and 39.
[Deibert] Right there.
Look at that door.
- [driver] Yeah.
- [Deibert] Yeah, this is it.
- Bahnhof.
- [driver] Okay.
- [door squeaks]
- Hey, I guess we just go in.
[electronica music]
[servers whirring]
[electronica continues]
[loud whirring]
Many people believe that you have this
cloud services that are floating around.
People think, "Okay,
it's a cloud server."
But this is the actual physical
location of the Internet.
[whirring, clicking]
[Karlung continues] It's a
constant struggle to protect data.
[voices echo]
The Swedish Security Police
wanted to install tools
to automatically log in to our
data and get out the information.
So I invited them
to our facility,
and then I had a microphone
which I was provided by the Swedish
Public Service, national radio.
[speaking Swedish]
I taped this conversation,
and they were so angry.
And they also wanted us
to sign a paper
where they said that we could
not say anything about it.
It should be total secrecy.
They said, "If a terrorist attack
happens, it's your fault."
[click, buzz]
[man speaks Swedish]
It's, like, a creepy feeling.
Nobody can say that
any facility is safe.
There are always possibilities to go
in and find data and take it out.
People say that, "Oh, I don't
have anything to hide.
They can read my mail.
I don't have anything."
But it's not that
which is this problem.
The problem is, without secrecy,
there can be no democracy.
Without secrecy,
there can be no market economy.
There is an obvious candidate
for the Nobel Peace Prize.
- Really?
- And that is Edward Snowden.
I mean, yeah.
Does the public enjoy the same right
to privacy that we have in the past?
Are we still private citizens,
and then public officials, where the
government knows very little about us,
but we know
everything about them?
Why are we, the public,
becoming disempowered
at the same time that
governments around the world,
corporations around the world,
institutions around the world,
are gaining greater and greater leverage
over the range of our activities,
their knowledge of what we do?
[Deibert] The Citizen Lab
is an unusual place.
[cell phones ringing]
We're a research unit
at the University of Toronto.
We combine the skills of
engineers, computer scientists
with social scientists.
We collaborate with people
from all over the world
to do the field research
that we do.
And we do this to advance
research on global security,
and human rights.
The world is
a very dangerous place
as we saw recently in... in
tragic incidents in Paris,
and you want to have security
agencies be well adept at discerning
what those threats
are over our horizon.
But is it okay that the government
sets up a giant digital X-ray machine
over everything that we do?
Because that's effectively
where we're headed right now.
[continues] We've been a kind of
digital early warning system,
scanning the horizon.
And what we've seen, frankly,
has been really disturbing.
[digital chirping]
[praying, chanting]
[chanting in Tibetan]
[man, in Tibetan]
[chimes playing]
[Golog, in Tibetan]
- [shouts]
- [blows landing]
- [shouting in Tibetan]
- [blows landing]
[beating continues]
[vehicle horns honking]
[woman, in English] Tibetans are watched
from every angle and from every corner.
It's in their homes, it's in their
offices, it's in the streets.
In Tibet,
certainly in central Tibet
and around
the capital city of Lhasa,
Chinese authorities, together
with Chinese corporations,
telecommunications companies,
they've integrated the ability to spy
on people via their mobile phone,
via the last communications they
may have had over the Internet.
Down to the closed circuit
television camera on the streets.
The Chinese so strictly
control access to Tibet,
it's just like a black hole
for media,
for independent observers,
for international agencies,
for anything.
[Golog, in Tibetan]
[woman speaks in Tibetan]
How I escaped is a secret.
[light music]
[Tethong] People are
incredibly courageous.
People inside Tibet will
send out news and information.
And they'll say,
"I want this story to be told."
They could be imprisoned.
They could be tortured.
Their family
could pay the price.
[music continues]
We on the outside have to decide
how to walk this very, sort of, fine line
between protecting people's security
and honoring their wishes about
getting news and information out.
And we know for a fact,
thanks to Citizen Lab's report,
that we are being
successfully targeted.
[music stops]
A new report has been released from
a group of digital detectives.
From their computers in Toronto,
they've tracked a high-tech spy ring
that reaches around the world.
[typewriter clicks]
For the past ten months,
these computer experts have
been working as cyber sleuths
hot on the trail of a massive
electronic spy network.
They say it has taken control of
nearly 1,300 high-level computers
in more than 100 countries.
A discovery that could have
major political implications.
They can extract any
document they wanted.
They could turn on web cameras,
turn on audio devices,
so that they could,
in effect, use the computers
as a listening device
in the offices.
[reporter] The web of intrigue
started with the Dalai Lama
who thought his computer
had been hacked.
Up until about 2007 or 2008, I'd
never really heard of malware.
You know, I'd heard
of viruses, obviously,
but I hadn't really heard
about targeted malware attacks
the human rights community.
First time I heard about it was
in the context of the Tibetans.
Gradually we started piecing together,
they are under surveillance.
The surveillance comes
from groups within China.
They're using malicious software
and socially-engineered e-mails.
E-mails that are crafted
to get them to open it up
to get inside their devices.
Nart Villeneuve, a computer wiz,
figured out
how the operation worked
by getting the attackers
to hack into his computer.
We're monitoring these groups
for long periods of time,
and you're essentially waiting
for them to screw up, right?
And when they do,
you take advantage of that.
Sometimes it takes a long time.
You could be monitoring a group
for a year and get nothing.
Then one day, they just use a
server that they don't lock down
and all the data's
just sitting there.
I was at home.
It was pretty late.
Nart was scouring through it,
trying to figure out
what actor is responsible
for getting inside
the Dalai Lama's office.
And there was a 22 or 24 character
string that kept coming up
that he couldn't figure out,
"What is the meaning of this?"
So on a whim, he just copied
and pasted it into Google.
One website came up,
and it was Chinese characters.
So he clicked on it.
[mouse clicks]
To my surprise, what came
back was the actual page
that the attackers used to interface
with the compromised systems.
So they set up a website where
they could monitor their victims.
But they didn't
password protect it!
So it was like a window
into everything they were doing.
[electronic music]
[Nart] This wasn't just targeted
at Tibetan organizations
or human rights organizations.
This was global, a pretty
wide range of institutions
that showed that these attackers were...
were quite busy.
There was huge pickup in the media.
It was all over the world.
And it put us on a different kind of
footing in terms of our credibility.
In the cyber security community,
we were novices at that time.
We were kind of outsiders.
[no audible dialogue]
So we were kind of
calling it on the fly.
Like, what do we do?
What's the right thing to do?
Who do we notify?
I knew that publishing it
was important.
We had to redact a lot of the
information to protect people.
Should we notify the government?
Should we notify
the Canadian government?
How do we notify other governments
that are being victimized?
At the time, you know,
we didn't want to completely disclose
everything that we had done,
because we
wanted to do it again.
[Deibert] In some of the communities
I mentioned, they loved it.
But I got the feeling from,
certainly inside my own government,
there was a lot of weirdness.
- [interviewer] Are we allowed to speculate?
- Well, I think now we know
because there's a Snowden disclosure
that explicitly references the fact
that the Canadians
and the Americans,
our signals
intelligence agencies,
were piggybacking
off the GhostNet network.
So, in publishing the report, we
basically broke up their party.
From our initial samples from
the office of the Dalai Lama,
they were actually compromised
by two distinct groups.
The GhostNet group obviously
got the most attention.
But there was another group
that was also active.
The GhostNet group
shut down their operations,
but the other group, um,
they're still going.
[birds tweeting]
[Tibetan horns]
[horns continue]
[gong rings]
[chanting in Tibetan
through megaphone]
[woman speaking Tibetan]
[Golog, in Tibetan]
In our research,
what we see are acts of war
that take place
against citizens,
using these very technologies.
Getting inside the computers of
Tibetans and then arresting them,
and possibly executing them,
is a kind of act of war.
[speaking Tibetan]
[Deibert] We see this sort
of thing every week, right?
Minor to major versions of it.
Everything on the site
is correct except this.
So this... The last log-in on
the C panel was from Korea.
- Mm-hmm.
- Do you guys have any work in Korea?
- Is there any...
- No, no...
So who actually accesses the website to
update it and all that sort of thing?
- It must be somebody unauthorized.
- Yeah.
[bell ringing]
[ringing rapidly]
[man, in Tibetan]
[in English] One, two, three,
four, five, six,
[in Tibetan]
[Tibetan horn]
[horn continues]
[horn resumes]
[man continues, in Tibetan]
- [shout]
- [gunshot]
[screaming continues]
[man shouts]
[screaming continues]
- [indistinct]
- Hmm.
[talking, quiet]
Not that long ago, the government
of Pakistan put out this tender
for proposals for a nationwide
Internet filtering system.
They wanted to solicit proposals
from companies to build,
the Great Firewall of Pakistan.
Today if you visit Pakistan
and you get online
and you try to access YouTube,
this is what you'll see,
a blocked page like this.
I'm in Islamabad,
putting in a SIM card.
First and foremost, I'm really
excited to see Shahzad.
I first met Shahzad and
the organization Bytes for All,
eight years ago, I think?
And he's been involved,
in one way or another,
in Citizen Lab research
ever since.
[mouse clicks]
- Hi, Shahzad.
- Hello!
- So great to see you.
- Here we are. Here we are.
[both chuckling]
Bytes for All does what they do,
fight for Internet rights and
advocacy-based approach to Internet freedom
under extreme duress.
So they're operating
in a country that,
specifically around media
and free expression,
has got to be one of
the worst places in the world.
Uh, journalists are
routinely kidnapped, murdered,
uh, offices firebombed,
et cetera,
and they've experienced
all of that.
Death threats,
staff members kidnapped,
his own son beat up and
thrown to the side of the road
as a warning to Shahzad
not to do what he's doing.
In my opinion,
Internet has opened up
so many opportunities...
for the people to express,
and that is the sole reason that
we are fighting for open Internet.
They lost their public spaces.
They lost their ability
to go out freely.
So, as they are putting controls
and curbs on physical spaces,
they are doing exactly the same
in online spaces as well.
So precisely the reason we are standing
out there to reclaim those spaces.
And we have to at some point,
and we'll continue to do that.
Oh, my God. [sighs]
The government has the ability
to ban specific pages.
[speaking foreign language]
[in English] You ban all of
Facebook, businesses are suffering,
people communicate.
I mean, you can
laugh and joke and say,
"For a few days people won't play
FarmVille," but it's not about that.
It's about your fundamental
rights being snatched from you
and no government, in my opinion,
should have the ability to do that.
[woman] Right.
Not only that, they banned
Wikipedia for a little while.
- Yes, mm-hmm.
- YouTube.
Uh, about several thousand
websites were affected.
I think the Internet is
this vast, unregulated,
wonderful, democratizing space
and no matter what anyone does,
people will find a way.
[sitar music]
[music continues]
Hi, I'm Sabeen Mahmud, and I'm
the director of Peace Nation,
a nonprofit organization.
I've always believed that technology
is always the driver of change,
not business, not governments,
but technology.
And gender-based violence
has always existed
but with the advent of the Internet and
the number of social networking tools,
I think it's
a great mobilization platform.
[mouse clicks]
[sitar music]
[anchor] Sabeen Mahmud
was leaving a Karachi restaurant
when the gunman
attacked her in her car.
Her mother who was also
accompanying her was wounded
and now is in a critical
Mahmud was taken to a hospital
where she was pronounced dead.
[sitar music continues]
When she spoke in physical
spaces, nothing happened.
When she was carrying on her
campaign, she was not targeted.
People were amused or they
ignored her,
or they just walked past.
But when this whole, sort of,
hit the Internet
and the social media,
that's when
the lynch mobs gathered.
And one of
the reasons I find is,
that speech in a physical space lasts
only as long as you're speaking.
But once it is uploaded onto the Internet
on any platform, it is there forever.
And then your attackers or,
you know, whoever opposes you,
they gather,
and then they spread it further
and more and more
people join that group
of people who are attacking and
it takes on a life of its own.
[Deibert] We're going through
a demographic revolution.
The center of gravity of cyberspace
is shifting right before our eyes.
From the north and the west of the
planet, where it was invented,
to the South and the East.
The vast majority of Internet
users today and into the future
are coming
from the developing world,
for whom these technologies
are empowering.
What should we expect then from
these next billion digital users
as they come online
in the post-Snowden era?
- [cheering]
- [horns blowing]
[siren wails]
[shouting in Portuguese]
[man on PA]
[shouting in Portuguese]
[in Portuguese]
[in Portuguese]
[speaking Portuguese]
[in English] Once we started
with Midia Ninja,
and we went to the streets
and tried to do live streaming.
There was a mobile station
with an electric generator
using gasoline, you know,
a 4G modem, a laptop,
a camera, a video switcher and...
- [imitating vibrating machine]
- [synthesized music]
[in Portuguese]
[Silva] It was good
in the first two or three times
in more calm demonstrations.
I remember there was a discussion,
and then Carioca said,
"No, I found an app.
Its name is TwitCasting
and maybe we can try it."
It was a Japanese free app used by
teenagers to hang out, you know.
[in Portuguese]
- [chanting]
- [speaks Portuguese]
- [singing in Portuguese]
- [indistinct]
Looking at Brazil, this is one
of those cases where you have
a sporting event, in this case,
which triggers all sorts of
extra concern around security
and the control of information,
much of it legitimate.
But what often happens is that
the layering of surveillance,
extra-legal measures that
happens leading up to
and during these events
doesn't just disappear.
It becomes part of
the permanent architecture.
[chanting in Portuguese]
[in Portuguese]
[chanting in Portuguese]
[Deibert] Mobile phones are prevalent.
Everyone has one in their hands.
And the police
now use a technique
where they set up fake cell phone towers
that captures everyone within the vicinity
and gathers up identifying information
that's emitted by the cell phones,
which they then
use to track people
and associate them
with each other
and being at specific
physical events like a protest
and the government
can go back in time
and re-create every facet of your
life on that particular day and hour.
With whom
you were communicating.
Not only what you're broadcasting
but what you're saying privately
and use this to incriminate you
down the road.
[in Portuguese]
[in Portuguese]
[in Portuguese]
[in Portuguese]
People realize there's
some hidden mechanism of power
going on through surveillance.
And you begin to suspect, maybe,
this device you can't trust.
Maybe the state's in here
or it's in my mobile phone or...
And as that kind of
seeps out there,
people become much more
unwilling to take risks.
You know, even in our own work,
we're much more cautious
about what we say over e-mail,
worried that
somebody's listening and so on.
It's like sand in the machinery.
It kind of slows things down
and everything becomes
much more complicated,
just to communicate
basic instructions.
You're like, "Oh,
first I have to encrypt it."
All these technologies too,
cryptography things,
they might be getting cheap,
but if we consider in terms
of time, they are expensive.
You know, people are being
murdered every day in the favelas.
The military police
are still running.
So it's complicated now
to stop the machines
and adapt our system
to a more safe mode.
[crowd booing]
[in Portuguese]
[Bentes, in Portuguese]
Oh, my, oh
I'll go for what you know
Who I owe
Why own when you can just
Sell it
[in Portuguese]
[man] Those gloves
Just take 'em off
Move before
The city moves to us
To us, to us
- [horns playing]
- [helicopter flying over]
[shouting in Portuguese,
[crowd applauding]
[Deibert] So at the same time
that you have so many people
able to communicate to
a global audience at an instant,
governments, in ways that
they weren't 20 years ago,
are really ramping up information
controls because they see...
And when we say "governments," we're
really talking about entrenched powers,
institutionalized, uh, you know,
forms of capitalism in the state
that see, you know,
this type of unpredictable citizen
activism as a threat to their interests
and are developing ways
to counter it.
You have new challenges today.
Sensitive data is transmitted
over encrypted channels.
You need more.
You want to look through
your target's eyes.
You have to hack your target.
You have to overcome encryption
and capture relevant data.
Being stealth and untraceable.
Exactly what we do.
The vendors of these products and
services market them to governments,
usually at trade shows
that are only open to accredited law
enforcement and intelligence agencies.
Actually, I've got
a big binder that I can...
So, if you ignore the bag,
actually which...
someone, uh, deposited
these in as a gift to me,
but I think was hoping to disguise
it in the kindergarten bag.
These are brochures from the type of
trade shows that we're talking about,
products and services that allow
cell phone detection,
uh, insertion of malware...
social media monitoring.
In many ways, the way to
think about this market
is that it's the commercialization
of cyber crime.
You trick somebody into
installing a software program
that contains malicious code
that exploits some vulnerability
in the system,
which then allows the attacker
to do anything they want.
Turn on the webcam,
listen in on the microphone,
record keystrokes, record
the location, the movement.
It operates without
much accountability,
certainly no corporate
social responsibility,
ripe for abuse in a place
like Sudan or Ethiopia.
We've seen in one
case after another,
how this ends up being used
to target civil society.
Gamma Group.
Maker of the notorious
FinFisher spyware.
[cars honking]
The attacker has to socially
engineer or convince the target
to open a file or to, you know, click
through some security warning,
um, in order to become infected.
We had found a document that had pictures
of Ethiopian opposition leaders in it,
and it looked like it was
targeted and designed to appeal
to members of
the Ethiopian diaspora.
Uh, but in fact,
the file was cleverly disguised
to look like a document that's
actually a computer program,
an executable file.
So when you run this, it will
install software on your computer
even though, you know, they
changed the icon and everything
to make it look like this
is a document or a picture.
This is actually a program.
I was able to look at the memory
of an infected computer.
In other words, what's going on inside
the computer when it's infected.
And I was able to identify several
interesting artifacts in the memory,
including a bunch of strings
that said "FinFisher," "FinSpy,"
very clearly attributing this
to the company.
You don't have to be the NSA to
get inside somebody's computer.
Um, instead you can
exploit their curiosity,
their, um, need to communicate.
And of course, journalists, at
the very heart of what they do,
is engage in communication
with a lot of people
and a lot of people that they
don't know and trust necessarily.
Because they're engaged in outreach and
communicating constantly with sources.
[crowd shouting]
[cheering, whistling]
Fifty years ago, nobody would have
known what happened in Syria.
But in 2011, when it started,
everybody had Facebook.
Everybody has e-mails and
everybody has WhatsApp and Viber.
So you just can't stop people
from telling
what is happening to them.
So when they besieged Daraa
at the beginning,
they shut down communication, Internet,
land lines and even electricity.
But they did not know that in the
21st century, people have their ways.
People were charging their mobiles
from their cars or generators,
hand generators,
um, manual generators.
And people were using
satellite connections.
You don't need to use the country, uh,
Internet to be connected to the Internet.
You can use anything.
And they were able to tell
what was happening to them.
Um, so the story got around.
[man speaking foreign language]
[sirens blaring]
A few years ago many of us
celebrated the Arab Spring
as the paradigm of what
these technologies could do.
Remember we called it at the
time "liberation technologies."
They would bring about the end
of authoritarian rule.
[man speaking Arabic]
Unfortunately, Syria has become
the Arab Spring's dark aftermath.
[boy shouting in Arabic]
As groups
sympathetic to the Assad regime
have employed off-the-shelf malware crime
kits to infiltrate social networks,
arrest, torture and
murder opposition groups
and even target
their air strikes.
[rifles cocking]
[man] From the beginning, we believed that
the camera is the most powerful weapon,
and it was actually
the only weapon we have
to deliver our own message
to the whole world.
This is interesting.
[speaking Arabic]
It's a pleasure for me to
introduce one of my best friends,
Mr. Baraa, he's one of the most
activist people inside Syria.
He came a few days ago
'cause he has...
He has... many broken
bones on his body.
He was there and covered
the battle in Daraa City.
And in the afternoon,
they get a tank shell.
He was with his friend,
whom has this camera.
And that good guy, you know,
he gets killed
by one tank shell
from the regime's side.
This video, you will see now,
a remote control car and
it exploded, a huge explosion.
It was filmed
by this camera.
After that,
the rocket launchers
started to hit the place
from the regime's side.
So our activist, this media guy,
he gets killed in here
in this exact... this place.
Now here.
He was standing here.
And people found
the camera with him.
We took out the memory card,
and we post this...
as, you know,
in memory of Hussain.
[wreckage clattering]
So now, Mr. Baraa here,
just a few days just to heal.
He paid a visit to some
hospitals to check out himself,
then he will go back into Syria
to keep working.
There is a war on Facebook.
Uh, every side is using Facebook
to promote themselves.
[in Arabic]
The other way around,
the regime will say,
"We will occupy this area.
We will take over this area."
Then the FSA would leave because
they're afraid of bombardment.
It's just a game.
Facebook is a game.
It was just a silly joke I made.
I didn't hurt anybody.
I didn't insult anyone.
It was not political.
It was not racist.
There is nothing
that they could hold against me
with a thing that
I wrote on Facebook.
But still,
at a time of war...
people get crazy.
They did not drag me
in the street or kidnap me.
They just asked me to come
to ask me a few questions.
This is what they said, so I
signed the paper that I'm coming.
I went the next morning at
11:30, to the detention center.
The security guy came to me.
He's like...
He's like half of my height.
He blindfolded me,
and I was like,
I was okay with that
because I thought, it's some...
it's confidential secrets of the country
that they don't want me to see.
And then I was presented to the
detective or the interrogator.
I never saw him.
He told me, "You're a computer engineer.
Please be seated."
And I sat next to him and he started
reading all my Facebook posts.
I was like, "Oh."
One of the posts
that I wrote was,
"No praying, no fasting
until the regime falls,"
which was actually
making fun of both sides.
And I laughed and he's like,
"I'm not kidding with you.
I'm not joking with you."
He kicked me on my chest
and then he requested
the same short guy,
because he was
there in the room,
to bring something called
the "flying carpet,"
which is a torturing machine.
It's a wooden board,
like the door,
but it has joints in the middle
that can flip.
And I had to lay on it.
They tied my wrists and they tied me
from the middle, they tied my legs.
And they just closed it
so my knees touched my chest.
He took off my shoes
and my socks
and started beating me with a
metal, uh, with a metal whip.
The pain is unbelievable.
You just can't take it anymore.
You just can't endure
this amount of agony.
What we saw in Syria
was a lot of use of, say,
off-the-shelf remote access
So this is sort of software that you can
get from underground message boards
or maybe purchase
for not so much money.
Maybe $200-300 that
give you the ability
to record someone's keystrokes,
read their e-mails,
even look at them
through their webcam.
Record via
the computer's microphone,
conversations that are being had
around the target's computer.
Frequently what you would see
is it would be bundled
with some type of lured document
which showed
a deep understanding
of the psychology of the people
they were trying to target.
For instance, one of the documents
that was sent out that I keenly recall
was a list.
A purported list of insurgents
identified by the Syrian government.
So of course what happened was that
this was promptly passed around
to all sorts of very
interesting groups in Syria
because everyone wanted to know
if they were on this list or not.
So the actual spyware payload itself
wasn't particularly sophisticated,
but the social...
the social and social engineering
side of that operation,
um, was quite smart.
Internet entered almost
all countries in the region
before it entered Syria.
Government in Syria,
we are not as developed
as Canada, for example,
or not as developed
as United States.
In Canada they can monitor
people and control people
and spy people in
a very intelligent way.
And even they don't
feel that they are...
spied on.
But in Syria,
of course you go to old ways.
They untie me and then I was...
and then he asked me to
sit next to him, and he said,
"Let's start talking."
And I told him, "I don't want
to talk to you anymore."
He said, "I want you to admit you work
with the Free Syrian Electronic Army."
I was like,
"I don't know what that is."
He said, "You like their page. You
like their page on Facebook."
I told him,
"I like their page on Facebook,
but there are too many pages
on Facebook that you can like.
I also like Assad's page
on Facebook."
Well, that did not convince him.
So his boss came and he told
him, "What is going on?"
He told him, "This is the Facebook
guy, and he's not cooperating."
So then his boss told him to,
"Send him down to the basement,
peel his skin off and just
remind me of him after a month."
And I was like, "Can we go
back to the flying carpet?"
I stayed there
for almost a month,
and then I was released
with a presidential amnesty.
So I went in a taxi,
covered with dust,
dirt, shit and blood,
all over my face,
my clothes.
And then the taxi driver felt pity
for me, and he gave me a cigarette.
I remember
that was the first time I cried.
And I went to my flat in Latakia
where I used to study,
and my roommates were
shocked to see me alive.
And then, like, two weeks after
that I fled the country.
I came to Jordan.
I am a journalist now.
[man] With Syria, a lot of the
bad things that are happening
are happening to people who
don't look like Westerners.
The bad things happening to
these people through technology,
through the risks
inherent in technology,
are not different than the kinds
of risks that we may face,
um, although they look
We see in the news
almost every day,
a report of a breach,
some kind of a large hack.
Data being exploited somewhere.
It's the same problem, but in
Syria, it looks very different
and because there are
dark-skinned people,
uh, and there are guns
and a foreign language,
it feels, I think to many,
exotic and different,
and it couldn't happen here.
And I think, in fact,
what you're seeing in Syria
is this is what happens
when the risks get higher
but the technology is the same.
They're using the same Facebook
that we are.
[in Portuguese]
[man beatboxing]
[Teles, in Portuguese]
[woman shouting in Portuguese]
[singing in foreign language]
[shouting on microphone]
[man shouting in Portuguese]
[in Portuguese]
[upbeat intro]
[man singing]
[glass shattering]
[all shouting]
[sirens chirping]
[Teles, in Portuguese]
[woman speaking Portuguese]
What is this? This is surreal.
[singing continues]
[clapping rhythmically]
[singing continues, indistinct]
[shouting in Portuguese]
- [shouting]
- [shutters clicking]
[news intro]
[in Portuguese]
[man, in Portuguese]
- [police officer]
- [reporter]
[sirens wailing]
Lots of people were there,
by 7:00 in the night,
and we were live.
[Carioca, in Portuguese]
[Silva] Suddenly a man came to Carioca,
and he asked to interview him.
[Carioca, in Portuguese]
[Silva] And then the military police
came to Carioca, searched his bag.
And then they said
he should be taken to jail
as a preventive arrestment,
to be searched and inquired.
[Carioca, in Portuguese]
How this information was being
virilized was really amazing.
Like sharing, sharing, sharing,
tweets, tweets, tweets,
mention, mention, mention.
"The Ninja is being arrested."
And suddenly there was,
like, a small crowd.
Like 5,000 people.
And all of them was
screaming together,
[in Portuguese]
[chanting in Portuguese]
[in Portuguese]
[man speaking in Portuguese]
[woman speaking Portuguese]
[Teles, in Portuguese]
[in Portuguese]
[in Portuguese]
[in Portuguese]
[Silva, in English] Then we posted this
video from the mobile, like, real time,
and it virilized very fast.
[Carioca, in Portuguese]
[glass shattering]
[video sound distorted]
[vocalizing continues]
[glass shattering]
[woman speaking Portuguese]
[woman vocalizing]
[music distorting]
[gunshot muffled]
[electrical crackling]
[crackling continues]
The video was just getting
bigger in the social media.
Bruno Teles became a character.
[crowd shouting]
[in Portuguese]
[Silva] They said
that Bruno was innocent,
and they used Midia Ninja image.
And they credited Midia Ninja.
It was the first time
that we were seeing
Globo recognizing
a free media collective
as a legitimate player
in the communication game.
It was a next step.
[crowd shouting]
[glass shattering]
Oh, he's changing his shirt.
[woman vocalizing]
[Orlando, in Portuguese]
[Bentes, in Portuguese]
[crowd chanting in Portuguese]
[shouting continues]
[crowd booing]
[in Portuguese]
[woman crying]
[crowd chanting]
Ninja! Ninja! Ninja!
[in Portuguese]
[crowd repeating]
[crowd repeating]
[crowd] Ninja!
[crowd chanting]
[digital pop music playing]
I've always been a fan of the
terms "hacking" and "hacktivism."
Especially "hacktivism"
which is the combination of
hacking and political activism.
And those combined
are pretty powerful to me.
It's about encouraging people not
to accept technology at face value.
We need to encourage people
to think about
what it is that surrounds them,
to question authority
in a sense of the authority being the
technological environment around them
and to realize that when you start
pulling back the layers of all of this,
that's where
the exercise of power is.
So if we want liberal democracy
to flourish,
we need people
to start lifting back the layers
and understanding
what's going on.
[Snowden] I think ultimately it comes down
to understanding what your values are,
because how do you
develop your thoughts, right?
How do you determine what it
is that you truly believe?
How do you determine what
it is you really want to say,
if you can't even
keep notes safely?
If you can't have some private
space, some space for thought,
some space to enjoy the product
of your own intellect,
to share that with people
close to you who you trust.
Whether they're family, whether they're
colleagues, whether they're compatriots.
[Deibert] One thing that I see a lot is,
this idea of technology as a solution.
It's a natural thing. Okay,
technology is under threat.
Let's find
a technological solution.
There are so many projects now
around secure communications,
platforms, chats, instant messaging.
But it's only one component
of a solution set.
And I think often overlooked are the
legal and political dimensions.
If we're talking about
protecting and preserving
all of this,
as a secure and open
communication space,
that means holding governments
It means holding
companies accountable.
Putting in place rules and laws
that ensures they can't do things that
infringe on our freedoms and rights.
That to me is, uh,
such a critical foundation
of a digital democracy today.