Becoming Public: the History of Surveillance

Lecture of a Lifetime 2021

Be part of a thought-provoking and topical discussion about the history of surveillance and its impact on privacy in our modern world.

Explore the life’s work of celebrated historian, author and UCalgary professor Dr. John Ferris, PhD, as he delivers a rare public lecture on espionage and communications intelligence, and the role both play in matters of personal privacy and national security. 

His 2021 Lecture of a Lifetime will delve into these topical questions about privacy and surveillance:  

  • How did wartime espionage lead to modern data mining? 
  • Is a foreign government reading your texts?
  • If the app is free, are you the product? 
  • Would you rather share your data with the government, criminals or businesses?  
  • Can you keep any digital information confidential?

Watch now

John Ferris

About John Ferris

Dr. Ferris, PhD, is a specialist in strategy and diplomacy during the interwar years, power politics in the Asia-Pacific region, 1856-1945; signals intelligence; and the role of intelligence in war and peace. He has authored 120 academic articles and chapters and five books; including the newly released Behind the Enigma: The Authorised History of GCHQ, Britain's Secret Cyber-Intelligence Agency – a 100-year history of British Intelligence code-breaking.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a professor of history at UCalgary, where he also is a Fellow of the Centre for Military, Strategic and Security Studies. Dr. Ferris is an honorary professor at University of Aberystwyth and Brunel University London, and an associate member of Nuffield College, Oxford.

UCalgary's Lecture of a Lifetime

This is a fantastic opportunity for our university to reach out to the wider community and share the work of our incredible thought leaders right here in the city.

Dr. Ed McCauley

President and Vice-Chancellor