In 1986, Congress passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a broad framework detailing how law enforcement could conduct surveillance on burgeoning digital communications networks. But the dawn of the Internet as a mass medium, the increasing ubiquity of location-sensitive mobile devices, and the explosive growth of cloud computing have radically changed the technological landscape since then. Yet the law remains largely stuck in the 80s, a 20th century legal operating system for 21st century communications — leaving courts unclear on questions as basic how much privacy protection e-mail enjoys. A broad coalition of technology firms and civil liberties groups is now seeking to update the law for the internet age and to lay out clear rules that reflect modern expectations of online privacy. With Congress slated to hold a series of hearings on ECPA reform in coming months, our panel will examine the problems with current law and the changes needed to provide effective surveillance tools for law enforcement without eroding user privacy or stifling technological innovation.
Featuring Benjamin H. Friedman, Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies, Cato Institute; Spencer Ackerman, Senior Writer, WIRED Magazine; and Julian Sanchez, Research Fellow, Cato Institute; moderated by Laura Odato, Director of Government Affairs, Cato Institute.
Featured PublicationWe are grateful to the Harry and Lynde Bradley Foundation and the Carthage Foundation whose support of the October 2012 Cato Conference “Europe’s Crisis and the Welfare State: Lessons for the United States” made possible this special issue of the Cato Journal.
May 24, 2013
Cato Institute research on federal and private sector employee firings is cited on MSNBC’s Jansing & Co.
May 24, 2013
Featured BookRenowned development economist Deepak Lal draws on 50 years of experience around the globe to describe developing-country realities and rectify misguided notions about economic progress.
More Bang for Your Buck
The Cato Institute tops a new measure of think tank performance in the United States, according to a recent report. Cato bested all other U.S. think tanks in the main category of “Aggregate Profile per Dollar Spent.” “I’m grateful to the Center for Global Development for showing that Cato gives its sponsors something I wish government gave more of to taxpayers: bang for the buck,” said Cato CEO John Allison.