The 2016 Cato Surveillance Conference - Flash Talks – Local Surveillance

December 14, 2016

Eight years ago, Barack Obama arrived in Washington pledging to reverse the dramatic expansion of state surveillance his predecessor had presided over in the name of fighting terrorism. Instead, the Obama administration saw the Bush era’s “collect it all” approach to surveillance become still more firmly entrenched. Meanwhile, the advanced spying technologies once limited to intelligence agencies have been gradually trickling down to local police departments. From the high-profile tussle between Apple and the FBI over smartphone encryption to debates over how to detect “lone wolf” terrorists before they strike, hard questions about modern privacy have figured prominently in the 2016 presidential race. Moreover, as WikiLeaks’ sensational release of hacked Democratic Party e-mails demonstrated, surveillance isn’t just a campaign issue: It’s a campaign tactic too. As the nation braces itself for a new presidential administration, the Cato Institute will gather technologists, legislators, activists, and intelligence officials to survey the privacy landscape, look ahead to the issues Americans will be debating over the next eight years — from government hacking to predictive “big data” to the “Internet of things” — and examine how and whether Americans can still live at least occasionally free from prying eyes.

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