About

Hello! My name is Maria Xynou.

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.

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

As part of my work with OONI, I manage our partnerships with digital rights organizations, coordinate the deployment of probes for the collection of network measurements, write documentation, blogs, and research reports, create and update test lists, and coordinate research that can help provide context around network measurements. I also write funding proposals, organize events and help out with the management of the project.

Previously I worked in Berlin 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, among others. I also 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 I 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 the Signals exhibition.

I used to live in India where I did research 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 co-organized 5 multi-stakeholder roundtable 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.

You can contact 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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