Joel Reidenberg – The Data Surveillance State of Europe and the US

CITP Luncheon Series

Date: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Location: 306 Sherrerd Hall
Food and discussion begins at 12:30 pm. Everyone invited.

This talk argues that we are at a critical turning point for the future of online privacy. The democracies on both sides of the Atlantic are trying to balance the legitimate needs of the law enforcement and intelligence communities to access online transactional data with the basic rights of citizens to be free from state intrusions on their privacy. From the recent revelations of massive collection of telecommunications data by the US government to the disclosures of the UK tapping transatlantic telecommunications cables, of the Swedish government’s warrantless wiretap rules and of the wiretapping of journalists in France, national data surveillance seems to have few boundaries that the law can effectively protect. The US and EU regimes offer an impossible dilemma for the existence of effective information privacy protection. American law generally focuses on access restraints for government to obtain privately held information and ignores the collection and storage of data. By contrast, Europe emphasizes rules related to the collection and retention of data and focuses less on due process obstacles for government access. In each system, proportionality is used to justify access and state surveillance is privatized through non-state actors providing the keys to citizen’s data. This reliance on an uncertain and elusive proportionality and on private actors to resolve the balance between state and individual interests translates to a fundamental undermining of online privacy.

Joel Reidenberg is CITP’s inaugural Microsoft Visiting Professor of Information Technology Policy. Professor Joel Reidenberg of Fordham Law School is a leading international scholar in internet law, privacy, and cybersecurity. While visiting, he will collaborate on research with the CITP community and teach an undergraduate course on internet law and policy. At Fordham he holds the Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair, and he is the Founding Academic Director of the Center on Law and Information Policy. He received his A.B. from Dartmouth, J.D from Columbia and Ph.D from the Universite de Paris-Sorbonne.