Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations lead to a repositioning of global partnerships, a deeper conversation about the roles of government and an honest and thorough look at the fundamental rights, liberties and principles we’ve held as “self-evident” and their apparent tensions. The “Snowden Effects” series shines a light, three years later, on three distinct but inter-related areas and the important changes they are undergoing: government surveillance, data localization and trust & transparency.
Ever since news of their complacency or direct collaboration with government covert data collection programs have been exposed, the level of public trust that tech companies once enjoyed has plummeted to reflect a more cautious and discerning consumer base. A base that questions whether their records, their data and metadata are safe from prying eyes.
To rebuild user trust, a number of companies have taken on efforts to boost transparency around government requests for information. Arguably the most well-known of these efforts is the transparency report, a regularly updated publication that details the number and types of requests a company receives for government officials to access user data. For some companies, such efforts also allow them to demonstrate a commitment to protecting user privacy by publicly documenting their tense relationship with the law enforcement and intelligence communities. In addition to public-facing transparency efforts, companies must also negotiate internal processes and legal requirements to respond to subpoenas. In response to this post-Snowden legal landscape, law firms focusing on technology issues have adapted and are creating separate divisions that provide turn-key subpoena compliance solutions.
The Internet Law and Policy Foundry, in association with New America’s Open Technology Institute, presents an expert panel of civil liberties advocates, industry and law firm representatives that will discuss the ripples of the Snowden revelations, three years out, and their implications on surveillance, transparency, and subpoena compliance.