Marta Peirano & Javier Lesaca

During the last five years, the Internet has become the most important battleground in the war for the future of democracy. What we once believed was the key tool to make modern societies more transparent and participatory has taken a deeply dark turn. Today we know surveillance capitalism -the business model that  pays for our digital lifestyle- is being systematically exploited to produce new forms of authoritarian control and manipulation, and to erase any shared notion of “truth”. In this exceptional conversation, two of the most recognized experts in the politics of technology in Spain, Marta Peirano and Javier Lesaca, guide us through the many faces of digital extremism today.

Marta Peirano is a Spanish journalist and author. She covers media and technology for multiple media outlets including national daily eldiario.es, where she has been deputy director. As public speaker, she has been a long time advocate for free software, digital security and the radical decentralization of critical infrastructure. Her most recent books are The Little Red Book of Online Activism, an essay about the impact of digital surveillance, with a foreword by Edward Snowden, and The enemy knows the System, on surveillance capitalism, digital feudalism and political manipulation online.
Dr. Javier Lesaca is PHD in Contemporary History and currently Fellow Scholar in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, where he is involved in a research project about digital disinformation and governance. He has been visiting Scholar with the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University studying and analyzing offensive digital disinformation campaigns both from violent and terrorist organizations as well as from national governments. He holds an M.A. in Arab Studies at Georgetown University, where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar. Lesaca has worked also as consultant in different multilateral organizations, such as the European Commission, the World Bank and the Interamerican Development Bank. He has published the book Weapons of Mass Seduction, based on the analysis of 1.500 original videos of the terrorist group Daesh. His work appeared in a number of media outlets and institutions, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Brookings, El País, the Spanish Congress or the US House of Representatives.