Surveillance, Security and Trust

June 04, 2014 // 10:00am4:00pm

On June 5, 2013, controversial revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden sparked an intense, worldwide debate about the methods and technology used by the U.S. and its allies to collect intelligence. While experts argue whether Snowden is a whistleblower or a criminal, there’s no question that the issues raised about national security and civil liberties are real, important and timely.

In a unique series, the Wilson Center will host four panel discussions leading up to the anniversary of Snowden's leaks. We will examine how and why countries conduct surveillance, the relationship between security and liberty, whether current technology will become obsolete and how to explain surveillance to a generation raised in a digital world.

6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Event Sessions: 

10:00 – 11:15 AM
How Have We Changed? Evolving Views in the U.S. on Security and Liberty
How much is too much? We need certain tools to thwart terror plots and for other critical intelligence functions like early warning, but what example do we set if these tools aren’t carefully reviewed and explained to the public?

David Sanger (moderator), National Security Correspondent, The New York Times
The Hon. Jane Harman, Director, President and CEO, The Wilson Center
Mike Leiter, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center
Robert S. Litt, General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence

11:30 AM – 12:45 PM
Surveillance, Friends and Allies
What level of surveillance is acceptable between friends and allies? How should nations – not necessarily in the “Five Eyes” co-operate on security – and what are the limits of co-operation?

Elise Labott (moderator), Foreign Affairs Reporter, CNN
Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, former German Ambassador to the U.S. and Wilson Center Distinguished Scholar
Sir David Omand, former UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator, and former Permanent Secretary in the Cabinet Office
Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon, United States Career Ambassador, Counselor of the Department of State

1:15 PM – 2:30 PM
Surveillance, Technology and Business

In the backlash after Snowden’s leaks, the private sector distanced itself from governments and surveillance efforts in the U.S. and abroad. Some even tried to change business models and move communications infrastructure overseas. How can we right these relationships and conduct effective surveillance while reassuring an anxious public? Will the pace of innovation move so fast that debates about current surveillance technologies be obsolete in a few years?

Kim Zetter (moderator), Senior Staff Reporter, WIRED
Joris van Hoboken, Microsoft Research Fellow, New York University
David Lieber, Privacy Policy Counsel, Google
Christopher Soghoian, Principal Technologist, American Civil Liberties Union

2:45 PM – 4:00 PM
Earning Back the Trust of Digital Natives

The world’s youth seem more concerned about publicizing the capabilities of their governments rather than the actual programs. And they are intimately familiar with the private sector’s efforts to collect and analyze the roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data produced each day by consumers – but also how these companies provide them a service. How can we work more closely with youth to help shape surveillance programs – and the laws permitting them – of the future?

Tara McKelvey (moderator), Feature Writer, BBC News
Zach Goldman,  Executive Director, Center on Law and Security, New York University
Aaron Hiller, Minority Counsel, House Judiciary Committee
Lea Shanley, Director, CommonsLab, The Wilson Center

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Meetings listed on this page are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required unless otherwise noted. All meetings take place at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC. Please see map and directions. Allow time for routine security procedures. A photo ID is required for entry.

To confirm time and place, contact Maria-Stella Gatzoulis on the day of the event: tel. (202) 691-4188. Check this page for the latest updates and notices.