AAC 2018

Access & Accountability 2018: A Conference for Transparency Advocates

Friday, October 12

8:00        Registration and Breakfast   Room 122

9:00       Welcome & Introduction    Room 120

9:15        Journalism Under Fire     Room 120
A conversation between RonNell Anderson Jones (Utah) and Stephen Gillers (NYU) on policies to facilitate and support the free press as a public good.  In his new book, Journalism Under Fire:  Protecting the Future of Investigative Reporting (Columbia U. Press 2018), Gillers proposes improvements to the Freedom of Information Act, a national anti-SLAPP law, the creation of a publicly funded National Endowment for Investigative Reporting, and other steps to ensure a future for investigative reporting and its role in our democracy.

10:00     Newsgathering in the Digital Age   Room 120
Analysis of current issues concerning the legal rights of newsgatherers and strategies most likely to improve the flow of critical information to the public, such as establishing an affirmative right to photograph, recognizing access rights for journalists, developing legal theories to combat the growing use of non-disclosure agreements, identifying strategies to protect confidential sources.
Moderator: Lee Levine (Ballard Spahr)
Panelists:     Alex Abdo (Knight Institute), Dale Cohen (UCLA); Jack Gillum (Pro Publica),
Lynn Oberlander (Gizmodo)

11:30     Law Enforcement Accountability    Room 120
Panel discussion of the impediments to public oversight of law enforcement agencies and the surveillance technologies they deploy and strategies to improve transparency, including access to body cam footage, disclosure of surveillance applications and orders, increased transparency for police discipline measures, and proactive technology information disclosure.
Moderator: David McCraw (NY Times)
Panelists:     Cynthia Conti-Cook (NY Legal Aid); David Harris (U. Pitt),
Jamie Kalven (Invisible Institute), Jonathan Manes (SUNY Buffalo)

12:45     Lunch      Dining Hall

1:45        The Privacy Paradox    Room 129
A consideration of the inherent conflict between personal privacy interests and the interests of journalists in access to information held in government databases, such as criminal history records, patient level clinical trial data, educational records, and driver license records, and a discussion of potential legal strategies to develop a workable solution.
Moderator: Jane Kirtley (U. Minn.)
Panelists      Julia Angwin (Pro Publica), Esme Caramello (Harvard),
Cheryl Phillips (Stanford), Nabiha Syed (Buzzfeed) 

3:00        Breakout Sessions
National security accountability  Faculty Lounge
Exploration of the ways national security concerns limit transparency and accountability, the problems created by over-classification and liability risks for reporters; consideration of strategies for obtaining appropriate public access to surveillance orders, national security letters and the FISA court, with a focus on key areas for future litigation or policy advocacy.
Discussants: Brett Max Kaufman (ACLU); Hope Metcalf (Yale), David Schulz (MFIA)
Jeramie Scott (EPIC)
Algorithmic accountability  Room 129
A review of key issues surrounding the transparency of algorithms used by governments and an assessment of potential legal strategies to achieve the level of algorithmic access required for meaningful democratic oversight.
Discussants: Julia Angwin (Pro Publica), Chris Bavitz (Harvard); Solon Barocas (Cornell);
Nick Diakopoulos (Northwestern), Esha Bhandari (ACLU),

4:30        The Reform Agenda    Room 129
Conversation on the strategies most likely to promote transparency and accountability in the current polarized political environment, how they should be prioritized, what it will take to achieve progress, and what contributions can be made by law school clinics.
Moderator: Jack Balkin (Yale)
Panelists:     Justin Florence (Protect Democracy), Jameel Jaffer (Knight Institute),
Lili Levi (Miami)

This conference is made possible by generous support received from the Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and with the assistance of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.