NSA Surveillance Reform: Pitfalls and Opportunities

NSA Surveillance Reform: Pitfalls and Opportunities

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Saturday, Jul. 19 1:30 PM (Eastern)

Ends: Saturday, Jul. 19 2:45 PM (Eastern)

A recently launched campaign in Europe calls on individuals to “vote for [their] digital rights.” However, no such movement has caught on in the United States, despite the upcoming election cycle. Rallies and events—including the Rally to End Mass Surveillance and the Day We Fight Back—have demonstrated wide support for surveillance reform. By educating the public about surveillance issues, digital rights activists can ensure voters understand where their elected leaders stand on defending our privacy and Constitutional rights. The election year also offers an opportunity to engage with Congress members directly on surveillance. This panel will discuss the political environment around surveillance reform, including grassroots engagement and the potential for leadership on the issues. The panel will conclude with a discussion of the ongoing challenges faced in communicating to the public audience on the so-called “balance” between national security and civil liberties.


Amie Stepanovich


Amie Stepanovich is Senior Policy Counsel at Access. Amie is an expert in domestic surveillance, cybersecurity, and privacy law. At Access, Amie leads projects on digital due process and responds to threats at the intersection of human rights and communications surveillance. Previously, Ms. Stepanovich was the Director of the Domestic Surveillance Project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, where she testified in hearings in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as in State legislatures. She is serving as co-chair for the forthcoming 2014 Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Conference. Amie was named as a Privacy Ambassador by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada and was recently recognized as one of Forbes magazine’s 30 under 30 leaders in Law and Policy. Stepanovich has a J.D. from New York Law School, and a B.S. from the Florida State University.

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Nadia Kayyali

Nadia Kayyali is a member of EFF’s activism team. Nadia is particularly interested in surveillance, national security policy, and the intersection of criminal justice, racial justice, and digital civil liberties issues.

Nadia previously served as the 2012 Bill of Rights Defense Committee Legal Fellow where they worked with grassroots groups to restrict the reach of overbroad national security policies. They earned their B.A. from UC Berkeley, where they majored in Cultural Anthropology and minored in Public Policy. They received their J.D. from UC Hastings.

Nadia currently serves on the board of the National Lawyers Guild S.F. Bay Area chapter, and as a volunteer at the San Francisco Tenants Union.

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Marcy Wheeler


Marcy writes about national security and civil liberties her site, emptywheel.net, and for the Guardian, Salon, and the Nation. She is best known for live-blogging the Scooter Libby trial and reporting the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded. In 2009 she won the Hillman Prize for blog journalism.

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