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Constitutional Law Symposium to explore government surveillance and personal privacy

March 16, 2015

The last few years have brought startling revelations regarding the National Security Agency's data collection activities. The world now knows, largely due to the unauthorized release of confidential documents by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that the U.S. government has engaged in the bulk collection of information about all telephone calls made to or from the U.S. The NSA has intruded on individual privacy in other ways as well; they may have even listened in on the personal cell phone conversations of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A group of experts will examine the constitutional, legal, and policy implications of these and other developments during the 2015 Constitutional Law Symposium at Drake University next month. The symposium, titled "Eyes and Ears Everywhere? Privacy in an Age of Government and Technological Intrusion," is set for Saturday, April 11, in room 213 of Cartwright Hall, 2621 University Ave.

The event is scheduled from 8:30 a.m – 12:30 p.m., with continental breakfast available starting at 8 a.m. Seating is limited; registration and cost information is below.

Speakers will present diverse perspectives on government and other technological intrusions on the privacy rights of people in the U.S. and abroad; and discuss what, if anything, should be changed as the U.S. balances personal privacy against questions of national security.

"The issue of privacy and government intrusion should be of interest to the general public as well as to lawyers who are following the legality of the NSA's surveillance of phone calls and Internet traffic," said Mark Kende, director of the Constitutional Law Center at Drake Law School.

The symposium schedule includes:

8:30-9 a.m. Introductory Remarks.

9-10 a.m. Keynote Address, "The View From Inside the NSA." Geoffrey R. Stone, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School, former member of President Obama’s NSA review committee.

10-10:45 a.m. "The Return of the General Warrant." Laura K. Donohue, professor of law and director of the Georgetown Law Center on National Security of the Law; director of the Center on Privacy and Technology.

11-11:45 a.m. "In Defense of the American Surveillance State." Gabriel Schoenfeld, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and author of, among other books, "Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law." Schoenfeld served as a national security advisor to Republican Presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012.

11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: "Beyond the Fourth Amendment: Additional Constitutional Guarantees that Mass Surveillance Violates." Nadine Strossen, John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School, former National Director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Registration is limited and costs $10 per person (free with valid Drake University identification, and for those affiliated with Dorsey and Whitney law firm), which covers the Symposium and a continental breakfast. Attendees may receive a copy of the Drake Law Review, which includes the Symposium proceedings, for an additional $10.

The Symposium will be held in Cartwright Hall, room 213, at the Drake University Law School on the campus of Drake University. Free parking is available in the Olmsted Visitor Parking lot.

For questions or additional information, contact Sara Hughes, 515-271-2988; toll-free, 800-4-DRAKE, x2988; or via e-mail at sara.hughes@drake.edu.

Drake Law School is one of only four law schools designated by statute to receive a permanent endowment to "encourage study of the American Constitution, its roots, its formation, its principles, and its development."

Drake Law recently announced new evening and part-time courses that allow greater flexibility for students who wish to pursue a Juris Doctor (J.D.) or Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.) while working part-time. Details are available at www.law.drake.edu/admissions.

The Constitutional Law Symposium is hosted by Drake Law School and the Drake Constitutional Law Center in partnership with Dorsey & Whitney, with the support of Congressman Neal Smith.