This event is by invitation only and closed to the public.

Lying at the core of sovereign power are government functions that ensure public safety and national defense: law-enforcement investigations, foreign-intelligence collection, and other forms of surveillance and data collection. But the nature and scope of these activities are not determined by government alone, and are increasingly in tension with the legal, technical, and business considerations of digital communications companies. Digital-communications firms like Apple, Facebook, Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Verizon, and Amazon both augment and constrain government power—sometimes by partnering and cooperating with federal, state, and local authorities, and other times by challenging the government through litigation, political pressure, and technological change. In turn, the difficulties that governments face in adapting to the digital world have caused them to subject technology companies to a challenging regulatory environment, with often-conflicting legal obligations at both the international and domestic levels.

The Hoover Institution’s National Security, Technology, and Law Working Group's conference on Technology Giants, Sovereign Power, and Surveillance will bring together members of the academy, private industry, civil society, and government to address the emerging implications of these dynamics for a wide range of legal and policy issues—from cybersecurity and technological innovation to democratic accountability and the public-private divide.

wednesDAY, july 26
Time Content presenters

8:00 AM

Continental Breakfast


8:15 AM

Welcoming Remarks
Jack Goldsmith and Benjamin Wittes

Participant Introductions


8:30-9:45 AM

Company Towns/Deputized Companies

Surveillance Intermediaries


Jon Michaels, UCLA School of Law

Alan Rozenshtein, University of Minnesota

9:45 AM

Coffee break


10:00-11:15 AM

The Internet Will Not Break: Denying Bad Samaritans Section 230 Immunity


Internet Platforms, Terrorism, and Speech


Peace with Honor in the Transatlantic Surveillance Debate


Danielle Keats Citron, University of Maryland; Benjamin Wittes, Brookings Institution

Daphne Keller, Stanford Center for Internet and Society

Adam Klein, Center for a New American Security

11:15 AM

Coffee and snack break


11:30-12:45 PM

Public and Private Response to Foreign Election Interference

Surveillance, Sovereignty, and Conflicts


John Carlin, Morrison Foerster

Andrew Woods, University of Kentucky College of Law

12:45 PM

Lunch served


1:00-2:15 PM

Sovereignty vs. Competition: Hardware Regulation in the Age of Snowden

Perspectives of Chinese ‘Surveillance Intermediaries’


Mieke Eoyang, Third Way

Samm Sacks, Center for Strategic and International Studies

2:15 PM

Coffee break


2:30-3:45 PM

Service Providers as Adjudicators of Nationality: When Should Citizenship Matter to Surveillance Rules?

User Rights in a Global System?


Peter Swire, Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business

Lee Tien, Electronic Frontier Foundation

3:45 PM

Coffee and snack break


4:00-5:15 PM

Small Towns, Big Companies: How Surveillance Intermediaries Affect Small and Mid-Size Law Enforcement Agencies

Government Hacking: From Data Gatekeepers to Security Gatekeepers


Anne Boustead, Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School

Scarlet Kim, Privacy International

5:15-5:45 PM

Concluding discussion



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