Sidebar        Mini-conference on NSA bulk metadata collection

On Friday, Nov. 4, the I/S journal and the Program on Data and Governance will host NSA Bulk Metadata Collection: Evaluating Privacy Through the Lens of Contextual Integrity from noon to 3:30 p.m. in Drinko Hall Room 352. The event will feature a keynote presentation and two panel discussions. 

In May, 2013, Edward Snowden, a former contractor employee with the National Security Agency (NSA), provided journalists with unauthorized access to extensive details of NSA warrantless domestic surveillance programs that had started during the George W. Bush Administration. One previously secret program, started in 2006, involved the bulk collection of telephone metadata. Such information includes the numbers at which phone calls originate and terminate, the identity of the communications devices involved, the telephone lines used, and the time and duration of each call. The NSA defended its practice, in part, on the ground that, because the agency was not intercepting the actual contents of each phone call, the gathering of metadata allegedly posed no threat to privacy.

NSA Bulk Metadata Collection: Evaluating Privacy Through the Lens of Contextual Integrity is a mini-conference designed to evaluate the NSA’s argument.  The centerpiece will be the presentation of a forthcoming paper by Paula H. Kift, a doctoral candidate in NYU’s Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, and Professor Helen F. Nissenbaum, Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication & Computer Science and Director of NYU’s Information Law Institute.  They use the theory of “contextual integrity” to argue that the bulk collection of telephone metadata does violate reasonable expectations of privacy and to offer a legal framework for assessing such initiatives. Following a lunch hour presentation by Ms. Kift and Professor Nissenbaum, two panels will comment on the implications of their analysis for privacy policy, national security, and the First Amendment.

The program is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided to advance registrants. Register here.