Entitled “Privacy in the Digital Age,” the convening examined where we are now and where we are going in wake of the Snowden revelations, which revealed the enormous scope of both US and international government surveillance.
The idea behind the INCLO gathering was to review challenges and compare strategies for reining in surveillance regimes and promoting privacy protections at the national level, and to explore more systematic involvement for INCLO on informational privacy issues at the national and international level.
The convening opened with a briefing by Edward Snowden, who joined the group via Skype, and spelled out the dangers of the far-reaching surveillance powers now being deployed not only by the US but by many other countries as well.
As part of the two-day conference, INCLO organized two panels that were open to the public. The first, entitled “What Would U.S. Surveillance Reform Look Like and Do We Need It?” was a discussion between Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU, and Robert Litt, the General Counsel of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence. The panelists agreed that in order to maintain trust in the government, the public needs information about the government’s surveillance authorities and activities, though they fundamentally disagreed on the adequacy of existing oversight mechanisms.
The second public panel, “How the Snowden Revelations are Reshaping Global Perceptions of Privacy & Big Brother: Perspectives from Around the World,” featured President Emeritus of the Open Society Foundations, Aryeh Neier, moderating a discussion with the Brazilian Ambassador to the United Nations, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota and representatives from civil liberties groups from Hungary, Germany, Brazil, the UK and the US.
The panel addressed, among other questions, how their governments, the public and technology companies reacted to the Snowden disclosures. The speakers agreed that the revelations have created momentum to push for reform and limit mass surveillance.
Participants in the conference included the following INCLO members: American Civil Liberties Union, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Kenya Human Rights Commission, Liberty, Legal Resources Centre, and also Antivigilancia, Columbia Law School, the Ford Foundation, Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties, Matrix Chambers, Open Society Foundation, Privacy International, Renewable Freedom Foundation, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, Transnational Institute, US Office of the Director of National Intelligence and University of Pennsylvania.
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