Event Tuesday: Reforming the Electronic Communications Privacy Act

By Raffaela Wakeman
Thursday, May 12, 2011, 12:44 PM

Lawfare readers may be interested in this event taking place next Tuesday, May 17th at Brookings.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 placed restrictions on government acquisition of electronic data communications, like emails. As increasingly innovative and sophisticated communications technology comes to market, new questions have arisen about how this law’s provisions should be applied. How much evidence must the government have before it can access emails of suspects? Should the standard of evidence differ if the emails are stored virtually in a cloud file system, rather than on a hard drive? How much evidence is required before law enforcement can use suspects’ cell phone data to track their locations over time? Should the government have to go to a judge to get an court order for such information, or should it be able to do so with a subpoena? These are questions at the heart both of an ongoing legislative debate over the reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and a series of recent court opinions.

The Brookings Institution will host a Judicial Issues Forum to convene key stakeholders in the debate to reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act – including investigators, prosecutors, civil libertarians and industry representatives – and explore whether the apparently rigid battle lines in this fraught policy discussion mask common ground. Orin Kerr, professor of law at George Washington University Law School, will deliver keynote remarks.

What: Brookings Event on Reforming the Electronic Communications Privacy Act

When: Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Where: Saul/Zilkha Rooms, The Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC

Who: Benjamin Wittes, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies; Orin S. Kerr, Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School;  James A. Baker, Associate Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice; Valerie E. Caproni, General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel, Federal Bureau of Investigation; James Dempsey, Vice President for Public Policy, Center for Democracy and Technology; Albert Gidari, Jr., Partner, Perkins Coie LLP

You can register for the event here.