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Lunch Timer with Ed Felten and Paul Ohm – Law Enforcement Surveillance Technologies: Are There Effective Legal Limits?

Monday, March 23, 2015
12:15 pm


Robertson Hall, Bowl 001

Food and discussion begin at 12:15 pm. Open to current Princeton faculty, fellows and students only. RSVP required. Co-sponsored with WWS and LAPA.

This talk is the first in our “Can Law Keep Up with New Technology?” series of lunch timers. Each program explores the current state of an emerging technology and the legal and ethical considerations that stem from it. Here, the discussion between Ed Felten and Paul Ohm will focus on surveillance technologies, considering the capability to extract information from surveillance and the scope of the power to perform such searches. LAPA Fellow Jonathan Hafetz will moderate.


Ed Felten was the first Chief Technologist for the Federal Trade Commission from January 2011 until September 2012. His research interests include computer security and privacy, and public policy issues relating to information technology. Specific topics include software security, Internet security, electronic voting, cybersecurity policy, technology for government transparency, network neutrality and Internet policy.

Ed often blogs about technology and policy at Freedom to Tinker.

Paul Ohm is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Colorado Law School. He specializes in information privacy, computer crime law, intellectual property, and criminal procedure. He teaches courses in all of these topics and more, and in 2010 he was awarded the prize for Excellence in Teaching by the students of Colorado Law.

In his work, Professor Ohm tries to build new interdisciplinary bridges between law and computer science. Much of his scholarship focuses on how evolving technology disrupts individual privacy. His article Broken Promises of Privacy: Responding to the Surprising Failure of Anonymization, 57 UCLA Law Review 1701, has sparked an international debate about the need to reshape dramatically the way we regulate privacy. He is commonly cited and quoted by news organizations including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and NPR.

From 2012 to 2013, Professor Ohm served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Federal Trade Commission. Prior to joining the academy, he served as an Honors Program trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. Before that, he clerked for Judge Betty Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge Mariana Pfaelzer of the United States District Court for the Central District of California. He is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law.

Before attending law school, Professor Ohm worked for several years as a computer programmer and network systems administrator after earning undergraduate degrees in computer science and electrical engineering from Yale University. Today he continues to write thousands of lines of python and perl code each year. Professor Ohm blogs at Freedom to Tinker.

Jonathan Hafetz is an Associate Professor at Seton Hall Law School. He is a nationally recognized expert on national security and human rights issues. His research focusses on constitutional, criminal, and international law. He is the author of Habeas Corpus after 9/11: Confronting America’s New Global Detention System (NYU Press 2011), which received the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts, Honorable Mention, and the American Society of Legal Writers, Scribes Silver Medal Award. He is the co-editor (with Mark Denbeaux) of The Guantanamo Lawyers: Inside a Prison Outside the Law (NYU Press 2009). Prior to joining Seton Hall, Professor Hafetz was a senior attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, a litigation director at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, and a John J. Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law at Gibbons, P.C. Professor Hafetz has litigated numerous cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals, including Al-Marri v. Spagone, Boumediene v. Bush, Munaf v. Geren, and Rasul v. Rumsfeld, and authored or co-authored amicus curiae briefs on a range of issues. Professor Hafetz earned his J.D. from the Yale Law School, an M. Phil. in Modern History from Oxford University and a B.A. from Amherst College. He was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship from the U.S. Government for study in Mexico. Professor Hafetz served as a law clerk to Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and Judge Sandra L. Lynch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. At Princeton, his research project will examine the role of courts in addressing changes in national security law and policy since 9/11.