Should tech companies be required to help law enforcement execute search warrants to access customer data?
That’s the question that we’ll be debuting on June 6th, the latest debate in partnership with the National Constitution Center and Intelligence Squared U.S. This question affects everyone who uses an iPhone, runs a Google search, shares pictures on Facebook, or rides in an Uber.
Advances in technology allow private companies to collect massive amounts of data about all of us, from the emails and text messages that we send to the apps that we download to the people that we call to the websites that we search. And yet, courts and policymakers have been slow to respond to the challenges that these technological advances pose to both privacy and security.
These data contain intimate details about our lives—details that we often seek to conceal from others and especially from the government. At the same time, this information can often help law enforcement capture a criminal or foil a terrorist plot. Our debate asks leading experts to answer a question that has vexed courts and policymakers: When, if ever, should our interest in digital privacy give way to the government’s interest in catching criminals and keeping us safe?
This question requires us to translate key constitutional values into the digital age. The Fourth Amendment reads: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated . . . .” How should we read the Fourth Amendment in the age of Cloud computing?
Courts, policymakers, and scholars continue to struggle with the best way to build a twenty-first-century framework for digital privacy. For example, the Supreme Court has long said that any data handed over to a third party—such as an internet service provider—loses all Fourth Amendment protections. However, this approach has been the subject of recent criticism by scholars, Justices, and policymakers alike.
We’ve lined up a remarkable group of scholars and thought leaders to debate these important digital privacy issues: Stewart Baker and John Yoo for the motion, and Catherine Crump and Michael Chertoff against it. As always, John Donvan will keep the evening balanced and civil as our host and moderator.
You can watch the debate live online here. Hear the best arguments on both sides, and make up your own mind! It’s all part of the inspiring educational missions of Intelligence Squared U.S. and the National Constitution Center. Our motto: “Visit. Learn. Debate.”
Let the debate begin!