You are here

Join us for talks on Data Privacy Day 2020

Image of lock with coding

SFU Library is delighted to present a Data Privacy Day event in partnership with the Vancouver Public Library on Tuesday January 28th, 2020, from 7:00pm to 8:30pm at the Montalbano Family Theatre, Level 8 of the Central Branch of Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia St., Vancouver. Attendance is free, and no registration is required.

The power of privacy

Are you concerned about your privacy in our networked, digital world? Do you wonder who benefits from the collection of your personal information?

Economic and technological forces incentivize the constant disclosure of personal information, and this data is actively collected and commodified.

To mark Data Privacy Day, join privacy analysts and researchers David Swanlund and Maral Sotoudehnia for talks and a lively discussion about location-based privacy, using blockchains to improve privacy, and what could be done to protect our personal data. Presentations will be followed by a question and answer session.

Poster for this event showing a fingerprint and text: Concerned about your privacy in the digital world. Who benefits from the collection of your personal information. Learn how you can empower yourself online and keep your digital personal data safe and secure.

Why your location privacy matters

Data about us is constantly being produced, transmitted, bought, sold, linked, analyzed, and (probably) stolen. Yet, among the many types of sensitive data about us, such as social insurance numbers, private messages, or passwords, one of the most overlooked is location data. Where you go says a lot about who you are, a fact that is well known by corporations and governments alike. This talk will overview what it is exactly that makes location data so sensitive, what companies and governments are doing with it, and what, if anything, you can do about it.





David Swanlund is a PhD Candidate in Geography at Simon Fraser University studying privacy and surveillance. His work emphasizes location as a critical aspect to personal privacy, and engages with both the social and theoretical aspects of surveillance as well as the technical means by which our location privacy can be protected. His most recent research focuses on designing software and methods for anonymizing spatial data before it is published or shared by researchers.

Putting privacy on the blockchain: interrogating the promise of blockchains-as-a-public-service

Jurisdictions around the world promote blockchains, the technology that powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, in an concerted effort to optimize civic service delivery and under the promise of personal data management and protection. To date, however, few policy use-cases demonstrate the blockchain’s capability to increase privacy and protect personal data. This talk will focus on the blockchain’s promise and limitations to serve as a policy tool, or a public service, to improve privacy.

Picture of Maral Sotoudehnia





Maral Sotoudehnia is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria, Victoria, located on the traditional territories of the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples. Her research lies at the intersections of critical data and software studies, feminist geography, political economy, and urban studies. Her doctoral dissertation is an ethnographic account of blockchains and cryptocurrencies industries and communities. Maral currently works as a Senior Economic Advisor and Product Owner for the Province of British Columbia’s Climate Action Secretariat, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, where she oversees the development of open-source software to improve the collection and analysis of industrial Greenhouse Gas emissions in British Columbia. 


Maral Sotoudehnia, David Swanlund


January 28


7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Montalbano Family Theatre, Level 8, Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia St., Vancouver

Registration information

Registration not required


SFU Library, Vancouver Public Library

Contact for further information