Dissonance U-M Speaker Series

Technology, law, privacy, and security are inextricably linked. Each area is intertwined with the way that government and commerce take place. This holds true for higher education, where these subjects underpin and enable how universities, including the University of Michigan, fulfill their teaching, learning, research, and clinical mission. The Dissonance speaker series seeks to explore these topics from a global and national perspective, and in doing so increase university-wide multidisciplinary discourse and support university initiatives related to data science.

The Dissonance speaker series was created through a collaboration of faculty, staff, and students from several supporting organizations across the university. If you would like to be informed of future Dissonance events please add your name to our email list. You are also invited to suggest a topic or a speaker for future Dissonance events.

Upcoming Event

Privacy & Security Challenges in Investigative Journalism

Wednesday, March 22, at 5:30 p.m. in the Henderson Room of the Michigan League

Knight-Wallace journalists, Bastian Obermayer and Laurent Richard will share the stories behind the biggest data leaks in history, and how privacy and security play important roles and present significant challenges in investigative journalism in the digital age. This discussion will be moderated by Gautam Hans, Clinical Fellow in the U-M School of Law.

Bastian Obermayer

Deputy Head of the Investigative Unit, Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich)
Study Plan: Understanding the global menace of tax havens

Bastian Obermayer is deputy head of the investigative unit for Süddeutsche Zeitung, the largest national daily subscription newspaper in Germany. He is the reporter initially contacted by the anonymous source of the Panama Papers. In 2005, Obermayer began working for the SZ-Magazin, the weekly publication of Süddeutsche Zeitung, specializing in long-form and investigative journalism. In 2012, he transferred to the daily newspaper where he coordinated the work of the team that investigated Offshore Leaks, Luxembourg Leaks and Swiss Leaks. He has received numerous honors for his work, including the Theodor-Wolff-Prize, the Henri-Nannen-Prize, the Helmut-Schmidt-Prize and the Waechter-Prize. Obermayer is the author of several books, the latest of which is the story of the Panama Papers. It will be published in English, Spanish and several other languages.

Laurent Richard

Investigative Reporter and Editor-in-Chief, Premières Lignes Télévision (Paris)
Study Plan: Defeating censorship with collaborative journalism

Laurent Richard is a French investigative journalist and editor-in-chief of Premières Lignes, a television and news agency based in Paris. He is co-founder of the highly reputed inquiry magazine "Cash Investigation" broadcast. Richard graduated from law school and began his career in local television. He freelanced for several years, making documentaries in Kashmir and Israel before accepting a job with the French investigative show "Pièces à Conviction." Following the broadcast of an inquiry into post-traumatic stress in U.S. soldiers in Iraq, he joined the press agency CAPA as editor-in-chief. Richard founded the award winning investigative magazine "The Insiders." In 2011, he was approached by a French television station and asked to develop a new innovative magazine, "Cash Investigation," dedicated to the business world. In addition to his duties as editor-in-chief, Richard keeps one foot in the field by leading, among others, investigations into dictators in the Caucasus region and Central Asia. "My President Is on a Business Trip," a 120-minute documentary on the topic, was awarded best investigative report at FIGRA festival in France in 2016. In 2015, he cosigned the book "Reporting Is Not a Crime. Stand Together Against Censorship," a collective work of 15 French journalists denouncing pressures against the press.

Gautam Hans - Moderator

Clinical Fellow, U-M School of Law

Professor Gautam Hans, '12, joined the Entrepreneurship Clinic in August 2016 as a clinical teaching fellow, with a focus on intellectual property and technology. He previously served as policy counsel and director, CDT-San Francisco at the Center for Democracy & Technology. In that capacity, he worked on a range of technology law and policy issues, including government access to consumer data; individual attitudes toward corporate information practices; and how startups address pressing law and policy matters. Professor Hans joined CDT in 2012 as the Ron Plesser Fellow, based in Washington, D.C., where he worked on the consumer privacy team on technology regulation and enforcement; the intersection of privacy, speech, and surveillance; and international privacy legislation.

A frequent speaker on technology issues relating to privacy, speech, and security, Professor Hans has been quoted in several media outlets (including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Los Angeles Times) and has spoken at multiple symposia and conferences, including South by Southwest. His work has appeared in the Michigan Law Review First Impressions and the Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review, and has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court (in dissent).

Who Is Behind the Dissonance Speaker Series

Supporting Organizations

  • Bentley Historical Library
  • College of Engineering, Electrical Engineering And Computer Science Department (EECS)
  • College of Law
  • College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA)
  • U-M Information and Technology Services (ITS)
  • U-M Privacy and Technology Law Association

Dissonance Organizing Committee

  • Sol Bermann, University Privacy Officer, ITS
  • Alex Halderman, Professor of Computer Science & Engineering, EECS
  • Peter Honeyman, Research Professor, EECS
  • Tim Maurer, Visiting Scholar, Ford School (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)
  • Aprille McKay, Assistant Director for University Archives and Records Management, Bentley Historical Library (privacy and archival issues)
  • Tim McKay, Director of Honors Program, Professor of Physics, LSA
  • Florian Schaub, Assistant Professor, School of Information
  • Margo Schlanger, Professor of Law
  • Student Team
    • Nadiya Kostyuk, PhD Student, Ford School
    • Matt Kretman, Masters Student, Ford School
    • Benjamin VanderSloot, PhD Student, EECS
    • Ritchie Wilson, Law Student (Privacy Technology Law Association), School of Law

Dissonance Participants: News, Papers, and Speeches