February 01, 2012
DeKalb, Ill. — Tech-savvy teens use the Internet to do everything from chatting with friends to posting original artwork to collaborating with open-source software. But many Internet users don’t really understand how copyright and online piracy legislation or anti-terrorist surveillance might affect them.
On Thursday, Feb. 9, hundreds of high school students from DeKalb, Rockford, Rochelle, Kaneland and Belvidere will have the unique opportunity to learn more about freedom of information and the underlying science and technology that make online interactions possible when they attend Northern Illinois University’s event, “The Day of Doctorow.”
While at NIU, high school students will participate in a live discussion with technology activist Cory Doctorow, author of the best-selling book “Little Brother,” and experience a day of interactive learning and discourse.
Doctorow’s “Little Brother” focuses on a group of techie teens who are held as suspected terrorists after an attack is perpetrated on San Francisco. When the teens are released, they hack their Xboxes to access the Internet without being tracked and begin protesting the government’s attempts to strip them of their civil liberties.
The novel describes new and emerging technology and raises interesting questions such as whether American citizens should sacrifice personal freedoms for national security and whether it is ethical to participate in hacking as a form of social protest.
“The Day of Doctorow” is sponsored by NIU STEM Outreach and the Friends of the NIU Libraries as part of their Sci-Fi Teen Read initiative, which invites students to explore the science behind the fiction with experts in science, technology, engineering and math. Additional support was provided by Tor Publishing. The company donated several reader guides and library copies of “Little Brother” to participating schools.
Students will learn more about the science behind the fiction in Doctorow’s book by participating in interactive mini labs on numerous topics, including video-game design, hacking the Internet, cell phone forensics and the very fiber and light that bring the Internet to life.
Doctorow is also the author of several other novels, including “For the Win” and “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.”
Additionally, he is co-editor of the popular weblog Boing Boing (boingboing.net) and a contributor to The Guardian, the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Wired and many other newspapers, magazines and websites. He was formerly director of European affairs for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (eff.org), a non-profit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards and treaties. He currently serves as a visiting lecturer (real and virtual) at universities in Canada and Britain. Additional information on him can be found on his website (craphound.org).
NIU’s Day of Doctorow also offers free afternoon activities including a presentation and discussion led by Doctorow and an interdisciplinary panel discussion with NIU experts. School groups and others interested are welcome to attend Doctorow’s talk at noon and the 1 p.m. panel discussion. Both events will be held in NIU’s Carl Sandburg Auditorium at the Holmes Student Center.
Events can also be viewed via a live stream (http://www.livestream.com/niulive). For additional information, go to www.niu.edu/stem/sfteenread or contact Gillian King-Cargile at (815) 753-6784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Media Contact: Gillian King-Cargile, NIU Outreach Communications