Last week, SMEX hosted, in collaboration with Ashkal Alwan, the Lebanon premiere of the Laura Poitras documentary CITIZENFOUR (2014). The film, shot mostly in a Hong Kong hotel room, documents the days immediately before and after Edward Snowden handed over the trove of files that exposed U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance practices to the world. Screened in English with Arabic subtitles, the event was organized as a part of SMEX initiatives to research and advocate for digital rights in Lebanon and the broader Arab region. The Arabic translation was contributed by Moutoun for technical services and consultancy and Arab Digital Expression Foundation in collaboration with the filmmakers.
About 150 people attended the event, around a third of whom stayed for a lively post-screening discussion about the movie, which covered a wide range of topics, including:
- Current challenges to the Right to Privacy in Lebanon, such as a lack of efficient constitutional protection of the right to privacy, state surveillance (despite article 140/99 of the Lebanese penal code that protects the right to privacy), and a lack of data-protection legislation. Download the report to learn more.
- Lebanon’s growing surveillance regime, specifically the Lebanese Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Rights Bureau’s engagement with the Italian spyware firm HackingTeam, and
- The legal framework for the online sphere in Lebanon and the Arab region. We introduced our new Arab Digital Rights Datasets, the first installment of which aggregates laws affecting digital rights in the Arab region.
Thanks to all who attended and otherwise participate in on this event and for the donations we received. Also, many thanks to Ashkal Alwan for being such wonderful hosts.