Saving Privacy

November 11, 2014 4:30 pm

Because of Edward Snowden’s remarkable public service, we know that the National Security Agency, with the cooperation of some large firms, has amassed an unprecedented database of personal information. The ostensible goal in collecting that information is to protect national security. The effect, according to Reed Hundt, is to undermine democracy.

In his remarks, Hundt—chair of the Federal Communications Commission under President Clinton and early champion of the Internet—will argue that the law and traditional checks on political power have not kept pace with the digital realm. How should we respond? Hundt proposes a new compact that encourages citizens to use encryption to protect their information and offers government support for technologies and legislation that enable self-protection. Moreover, the government would have to rely on tried-and-true practices of the criminal justice system, not secret backdoors, to police encrypted digital space.

Following Hundt's remarks will be responses from Michael Dearing, Jonathan Mayer, and Jennifer Granick. Joshua Cohen will facilitate the discussion.

This event is part of a collaboration with Boston Review.


Reed Hundt was chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission from 1993 to 1997. Appointed by President Bill Clinton, he served for most of Clinton's first term. He was succeeded by William Kennard. Hundt is the CEO of the Coalition for Green Capital and a senior advisor to Skadden, Arps and GTCR, a private equity firm. He is on the board of a number of technology companies, including Intel Corp., and is on the advisory boards of the Yale School of Management and the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority of Connecticut.

Joshua Cohen is Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society; professor of political science, philosophy, and law; and a principal investigator in Stanford's program on Liberation Technology. A political theorist trained in philosophy, Cohen has written on issues of democratic theory and global justice. Among his recent publications are Philosophy, Politics, Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2009); Rousseau: A Free Community of Equals (Oxford University Press); The Arc of the Moral Universe and Other Essays (Harvard University Press, 2011). He is co-editor of the forthcoming Norton Introduction to Philosophy (Norton 2014). He is also editor of Boston Review, a bi-monthly magazine of political, cultural, and literary ideas, and a member of the Apple University faculty.

Michael Dearing joined the faculty in Spring 2006. His current interests include process design for new product development, “productizing” emerging technologies, web-based businesses, product marketing, and pricing. Before joining the, Dearing spent nearly seven years at eBay serving most recently as Senior Vice President & General Merchandise Manager for eBay. While at eBay, Dearing and his colleagues were also responsible for the launch and growth of many new merchandise categories, and new businesses such as Buy-it-Now, the listings upgrade business, eBay Stores, and ProStores. Prior to eBay, Michael held leadership positions at Bain & Company, Filene’s Basement, The Walt Disney Company, and Industrial Shoe Warehouse. An east coast native, Dearing is now happily a citizen of the Bay Area. He holds an AB in Economics, with a focus in economic history, from Brown University, and an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School. He is a member of the Economic History Association and the Business History Conference.

Jennifer Granick is the Director of Civil Liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. Granick returns to Stanford after working with the internet boutique firm of Zwillgen PLLC. Before that, she was the Civil Liberties Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She practices, speaks and writes about computer crime and security, electronic surveillance, consumer privacy, data protection, copyright, trademark and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. From 2001 to 2007, Jennifer was Executive Director of CIS and taught Cyberlaw, Computer Crime Law, Internet intermediary liability, and Internet law and policy. Before teaching at Stanford, Granick spent almost a decade practicing criminal defense law in California. She was selected by Information Security magazine in 2003 as one of 20 "Women of Vision" in the computer security field. She earned her law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law and her undergraduate degree from the New College of the University of South Florida.

Jonathan Mayer is a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at Stanford University, where he received his J.D. in 2013. He was named one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2014, for his work on technology security and privacy. Jonathan's research and commentary frequently appears in national publications, and he has contributed to federal and state law enforcement actions. Mayer is a Cybersecurity Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, a Junior Affiliate Scholar at the Center for Internet and Society, and a Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow. He earned his A.B. at Princeton University in 2009, concentrating in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Room 190
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA

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