Loading Events

The Surveillance Debate

Thursday, February 21, 2008
12:30 pm


302 Computer Science

Food and discussion begins at 12:30 pm. Everyone invited.

In August 2007, Congress passed, at the urging of the Bush Administration, the Protect America Act to relax the authorization requirements and judicial oversight provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978. Last week, the Protect America Act expired and now a bitter fight rages on in Congress over how to proceed in updating FISA. The Administration argues that permanant PAA-like reforms are necessary to better collect foreign intelligence to protect Americans from future terrorist threats. Civil libertarian opponents say that FISA, as it currently stands, provides ample opportunities to target domestic communications of overseas enemies while retaining independent procedural court review.

We will review the legislative history behind FISA and how we got to where we are today. Looking ahead, how should Congress proceed in updating our digital surveillance laws? How will changes in telecommunications technology impact the the surveillance debate on balancing national security with civil liberties?