It has been a dizzying year in the world of surveillance: In June, nearly two years after Edward Snowden shocked the world with unprecedented leaks revealing the scope of National Security Agency spying, Congress moved to limit the bulk collection of domestic communications data via the USA FREEDOM Act — first introduced at a Cato conference in 2013 — but how much privacy protection will the law’s reforms truly provide?
Meanwhile, courts and policymakers struggle to keep up with a rapidly evolving array of high-tech threats to privacy, each posing difficult policy questions. Should encryption technologies be engineered to include back doors for government, as some law enforcement officials have proposed? How should companies respond to ever-growing demands for user data on a borderless Internet — and what consequences will the answer hold for America’s technology sector and global freedom? What tools can individuals rely on to protect themselves from intrusive states and malicious hackers? Does cybersecurity require sharing ever more information with government? Are new laws required to regulate the increasing use of cell phone location tracking by police?
The Cato Institute’s Second Annual Surveillance Conference will explore these questions and more with the top scholars, litigators, intelligence officials, activists, and technologists working at the intersection of privacy, technology, and national security.