Surviving Technology: Stratfor's George Friedman
chadcw 100000GJVW Visits (1586)
For my final SXSW 2012 panel, I attended the solo presentation by Dr. George Friedman of Stratfor.
Recently, Stratfor has been in the national news because their web site and emails were hacked by a somewhat notorius hacking group, Anonymous. As if that weren't painful enough for Stratfor, Wikileaks then posted 800 of Stratfor's emails on the WikiLeaks web site. To my knowledge, this SXSW panel was Dr. Friedman's first public discussion on what happened to his company last December.
It was a very powerful and politically charged event at SXSW. Just as soon as Dr. Friedman began to deliver his talk, two people who can probably be best described as supporters of WikiLeaks began shouting statements unflattering to Stratfor. Their demonstration went on for over 3 minutes, and that seemed more like 10 minutes! Once that display was over, Dr. Friedman went on to tell the audience about the fallout, in real human terms, of what these malicious actions have caused on his employees.
Whether or not you agree with WikiLeaks or Stratfor, it was an incredible experience being there. It was, in essence, the eye of the storm of the ongoing struggle between privacy and transparency on the Internet. And it was another reminder of how SXSW deals with information and topics that are both very real and very current. What a story!