FISA at Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 2009

FISA’s been a major topic since the 90s at the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference, and this year’s no exception. For the first time ever, we’ll be streaming video, and so the great content will be available whether or not you’re making the trek to Washington DC … and the Twitter backchannel will give a way to participate in the discussion as well.

Here’s a brief summary of some of the sessions that are likely to be of interest to Get FISA Right members — and anybody else interested in domestic surveillance, warrantless wiretapping, and a panoptic society. All will be streamed at, and videos will also be available for later viewing.

  • Monday, June 1, 9 a.m.*: Ari Melber’s opening keynote at the Twittering in the Trenches workshop is on Net movements in the Obama era. Ari’s done some of the best writing about Get FISA Right; he’s also worked with our ally Bob Fertik of to get media attention on the call for special prosecutor. Sessions later in the workshop include Shireen Mitchell discussing social network technology for activists, and Deborah Pierce leading a track on privacy advocates on social networks.
  • Tuesday, June 2, 9 a.m.: the main conference’s opening plenary session on Computers, Freedom and the Obama Administration, is moderated by Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times, who along with James Risen first broke the story on the Bush Administration’s illegal warrantless wiretapping. Susan Crawford (Special Assistant to the President for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy) will make opening remarks; panelists include Caroline Fredrickson of the ACLU, Peter Swire of CAP, and Declan McCullagh of CNET.
  • Tuesday, 10:30 a.m.: The Future of Security vs. Privacy includes civil libertarian Jim Harper of Cato Institute, security expert Bruce Schneier, FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni, and Stewart Baker, former General Counsel at the NSA — moderated by Ryan Singel of Wired’s Threat Level blog. Talk about an all-star cast!
  • Wednesday, June 3, 7:30 p.m.: a birds-of-a-feather (BoF) session on New strategies for fighting FISA and the PATRIOT Act. BoF’s are less formal and more participative than main conference sessions, and a great place for brainstorming. GFR member Chip Pitts is likely to be there as well as me … if anybody else in the DC area would like to attend, please let me know!
  • Thursday, June 4, 4:45 p.m: the closing plenary Panopticon: Internalizing the Gaze, moderated by Lillie Coney of EPIC, features NSA whistleblower Thomas Tamm as well as others who have found themselves under government surveillance — including peace activist Pat Elder, who we’ve long wanted to approach about being in a GFR video!

There’s lots of other great stuff on the CFP program, including a lot of FISA-related people talking about other topics: Marcy Wheeler on The future of print, Kevin Bankston of EFF and Nicky Ozer of the Northern California ACLU on ECPA, and Representative Alan Grayson on Cybersecurity and the new administration. So please, check it out!


* Eastern Daylight Time, so the days start at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. for you west coasters … sorry ’bout that.


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