Policy Forum

Who’s Watching Little Brother? Local Surveillance, National Concerns

December 11, 2013 10:30 AM to 12:15 PM EST

Policy Center with Foyer

Featuring Mike German, Senior Policy Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union; Eileen Larence, Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues, Government Accountability Office; Michael Price, Counsel, Liberty & National Security Program, Brennan Center for Justice; and Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies, Cato Institute.

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Americans have been stunned by revelations that the National Security Agency is collecting vast troves of information about ordinary citizens. But the NSA is only part of the surveillance story.

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, state and local police have formed data “fusion centers” across the country and partnered with the federal intelligence community to share a wide array of personal information in an effort to detect and prevent terrorism. New research, however, finds that this system of data gathering and sharing produces mountains of data with little or no counterterrorism value, operates under vague and inconsistent rules with little oversight or accountability, and could hinder the investigation of actual criminal or terrorism activity.

Join us for a panel discussion with leading scholars on privacy and national security. Does federal support for fusion centers and suspicious activity reporting make sense? What can be done to mitigate the risks they pose to civil liberties, to prevent waste, and to improve oversight?