About

Hello! My name is Maria Xynou.

Thanks for visiting my blog. This is a space where I aggregate my publications, share my work more generally (projects, talks, etc.), and sometimes publish independent articles.

I’m passionate about researching information controls and defending human rights on the internet. Over the last 6+ years I have specialized on (government & corporate) surveillance and internet censorship research. Most of the information on this blog is related to digital rights issues.

Now

I currently have the opportunity to work with the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), a free software project that aims to increase transparency of internet censorship around the world. I have worked with OONI since May 2016.

As part of my work with OONI, I manage our partnerships with digital rights organizations, coordinating a global coalition that measures internet censorship around the world. I work with our partners on updating censorship measurement resources and on writing and publishing research reports on internet censorship. I occasionally facilitate OONI Probe workshops and help out with localization and usability studies. Apart from community and research-related things, I’m also my team’s go-to person for anything text-related. I write copy for the OONI Probe apps, as well as documentation, blog posts/announcements and funding proposals. I also organize events, manage OONI’s communications, and help out with the management of the project.

Previously

I used to live in Berlin, where I worked with the Tactical Technology Collective (“Tactical Tech”) for 3 years. As part of my work with Tactical Tech, I worked on the Security in-a-Box, MyShadow and Trackography projects. This included research, writing, and community engagement on digital security and the politics of data.

My work on digital security involved research and writing on surveillance and free software tools, as well as the creation of numerous hands-on guides for various digital security tools, such as PGP, Tor, OTR and VeraCrypt. I facilitated digital security workshops for journalists and human rights activists, and taught a 3-day seminar (“Surveillance and Basic Digital Security”) at the University of Paderborn, Germany. As part of my work on the politics of data, I investigated online tracking and the data industry more broadly. I tried to make companies’ privacy policies easier to read (and understand), and I helped communicate concerns around the data industry to the broader public through the facilitation of workshops at Tactical Tech’s ‘Nervous Systems’ exhibition.

In my spare time (several years ago) I independently created Surveillance Without Borders, a resource that illustrates the global reach of surveillance based on the classification and visualization of the Snowden revelations. This project has been featured in 2 books (Guerre di rete and A Field Guide to the Snowden Files), as well as in Berlin’s Signals exhibition.

Before Berlin, I lived in India, where I worked as a policy researcher with the Centre for Internet and Society. My work included legal analysis and investigatory research on India’s surveillance industry and surveillance schemes. I created the India Privacy Monitor project and helped organize 5 multi-stakeholder round-table meetings across India for the discussion of draft privacy legislation.

Prior to India, I volunteered with Privacy International, interned with the Parliament of Greece and acquired a MSc in Security Studies from the University College London (UCL).

Before getting sucked into the digital world, I used to be a ballerina.

Contact

You can reach me at maria.x@espiv.net.

PGP Key Fingerprint: 2DC8 AFB6 CA11 B552 1081 FBDE 2131 B3BE 70CA 417E

You can follow me on Twitter, and you can find some of the projects that I work on via GitHub.

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