CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy

This speaker series is made possible by an anonymous charitable donation in memory of cypherpunks and privacy advocates Len Sassaman, Hugh Daniel, Hal Finney, and Caspar Bowden.

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Using Tor as a Public Broadcaster

Oliver Linow, Deutsche Welle

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February 28, 2020 1:30pm, in Federation Hall (part of the Privacy, Infrastructures, Policy event)


From China to Iran, the current restrictions on press freedom also affect international broadcasters such as the BBC, Radio Free Asia or Deutsche Welle. Internet censorship prevents media organizations from distributing their websites in some countries, or from joining in on citizen dialogue on social media in others. Broadcasters are also reliant on information that they receive directly from crisis regions from local staff, where there is no or little freedom of speech. With the Tor Protocol, it is possible to bypass internet blocking to reach people in countries with censorship and protect journalists from surveillance while researching or working on their content. Because of the benefits provided to media outlets by the Tor Protocol, both the BBC and Deutsche Welle recently launched their own onion services. Oliver will speak about how his experience introducing Tor into Deutsche Welle including the conversations that took place with management and the obstacles that we faced on the way. He hopes to spark the question "why is Tor used so rarely by media outlets?”


Oliver Linow is a communications engineer and joined Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster, in 1998. In his first years at DW, he planned monitoring scenarios for digital broadcasting and internet distribution. In 2009 he introduced StreamMon, an in-house development designed for monitoring DW’s live Internet streaming. In 2012, Oliver Linow took on the role as head of the quality assessment department. In the same year, he set up DW's internal working group against internet censorship.The group, which consists of representatives from program, sales, technology, marketing and media research, work on solutions to circumvent censorship. Since 2013 Oliver Linow has been part of the DG7 Internet Freedom Working Group, which brings together experts from various international broadcasters including the BBC, France Médias Monde and the US Agency for Global Media. One of the group's latest successful projects was introducing the Tor Onion Services for the BBC and DW.