nationalsecuritylaw (potential) upcoming event: Privacy, Technology, and Surveillance, at South by Southwest Interactive (Austin, March 2014)

In connection with the annual South-by-Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference here in Austin, UT’s Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law has proposed a nifty event focused on the intersection of privacy, technology, and surveillance. The proposal is for a 2.5 hour workshop featuring Susan Landau, Tim Edgar, Jeff Rosen, and me. The catch is: there are thousands of proposals every year, and voting by the public plays an important role in the selection process. So, if you think you might be in Austin for SXSWi, or in any event if you just want to lend us your support, your help would be most welcome. Here is the announcement and the link for voting (and here’s a in which I demonstrate that it is in fact quite difficult not to look and sound uncomfortable on camera…yeesh.).

Is privacy dead? Is Big Brother always watching? Or are enhanced surveillance programs necessary in a world where terrorism is an ever-present threat? The Strauss Center has proposed to host a workshop at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive to get to the heart of these issues by engaging in conversation with experts in technology, intelligence, law, and policy and you – the audience! But to make it all happen, the proposal needs your vote. Vote now for the workshop "After Snowden: Privacy, Surveillance, and the NSA." [Note: the SXSW system asks you to register, and then lets you pick out proposals you want to support]

Edward Snowden’s dramatic revelations of classified information this summer set off a massive public debate concerning the intersection of technological change, national security, and privacy. Alas, that debate is not always sufficiently well informed when it comes to its legal, policy, and technical aspects. This workshop is meant not to evangelize in favor of any one particular solution, but rather to provide attendees with a sophisticated-but-accessible foundation for sharpening (or perhaps changing) their own views. It brings together dynamic, nationally known experts in technology, privacy policy, civil liberties, law, and U.S. government intelligence policy. The workshop will delve into the technical and policy aspects of national security surveillance, the evolution of the legal architecture governing the NSA, and the way that things may develop in the years ahead. It will also deploy classroom "voting" technology and other participatory measures to directly engage attendees.

But to make this a reality, the proposal needs your vote! If you think this conversation would be a great addition to SXSW Interactive, please take the time to vote for the workshop on SXSW’s Panel Picker. Voting is open from now until September 6, so get your vote in today!

The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at The University of Texas at Austin provides the imagination, leadership and intellectual innovation required to help meet the challenges of the 21st century. It is designed to be a new kind of institution, one that engages the best minds in academia, government and the private sector in developing practical solutions to the pressing problems of an increasingly globalized world. The Center seeks the widest possible audience, enriching the public debate and giving guidance to decision makers on how to respond to dangers and opportunities in global affairs. For more information on the Strauss Center, visit our website at

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