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Fall 2023 Seminar

Modern Surveillance Law

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: No Exam
Elements used in grading: 75% based on two papers (2,250-2,500 words each), which includes timely submission of topics and outlines, and 25% based on class participation.

In this course we will examine the law and policy of government surveillance. We will focus on U.S. government signals collection for national security, intelligence gathering, espionage, criminal law enforcement and public safety purposes, and will address transnational implications. Technologies and practices we will cover include wiretapping, stored data collection and mining, location tracking, purchasing from data brokers, encryption and developing eavesdropping techniques. We will explore how government surveillance is permitted, prohibited or controlled by the U.S. Constitution, including the Fourth Amendment, and laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the USA Freedom Act, the Patriot Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the CLOUD Act, and CALEA. We will also look at the role of executive orders and laws outside the United States. No technical expertise is required.

There is no textbook. All materials are posted to the course website.