"Going Dark" and the Intersection of Law Enforcement and Privacy Interests - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Peter Swire, Benjamin Wittes September 30, 2015

FBI Director James Comey recently testified before Congress about what he characterized as law enforcement's increasing lack of technical ability to carry out court orders to intercept and access communications and information because of a fundamental shift in communications services and technologies. This issue has been coined the “going dark" problem. According to Comey, changes in technology such as encryption hinder law enforcement’s ability to use investigative tools and follow critical leads to stop terrorists and cyber criminals.

Is "going dark" a real problem, or are Director Comey's concerns overblown? Do the means exist to develop techniques and tools, designed to mitigate the challenges associated with "going dark," while maintaining the privacy-protecting attributes of the technologies at issue?


  • Prof. Peter Swire, Nancy J. and Lawrence P. Huang Professor of Law and Ethics, Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology and Senior Counsel, Alston & Bird LLP
  • Mr. Benjamin Wittes, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution

The Telecommunications Act: Can it Rein in the FCC? - Audio/Video

Third Annual Executive Branch Review Conference
Jonathan Adelstein, Kelly Cole, Grace Koh, David B. Quinalty, Scott Belcher June 23, 2015

The communications and technology sectors have seen an explosion of growth and innovation over the last decade, and yet the primary body of law governing these areas, The Communications Act, has not been updated since the days of dial-up internet. In 2013, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (Mich.) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (Oreg.) announced that they would commence efforts to “update the law to better meet the dynamic needs of the 21st century.” In January, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (S. Dak.) announced similar plans.

Our panel will discuss recent efforts to update the Communications Act for the modern internet age. What should a new framework look like? With the convergence of technologies, should the current platform-specific regulation be replaced with a more flexible, service-based regulatory scheme? Should special considerations still apply in certain services? How could such regulations impact developing business models and evolving technologies? Should the scope of the FCC’s jurisdiction remain the same? These and other issues will be explored.

This panel was presented on June 18, 2015, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC during the Third Annual Executive Branch Review Conference.

The Telecommunications Act: Can it Rein in the FCC?
9:40 – 11:10 a.m.
Senate Room

  • Mr. Jonathan Adelstein, President & CEO, PCIA - The Wireless Infrastructure Association
  • Ms. Kelly Cole, National Association of Broadcasters
  • Ms. Grace Koh, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce
  • Mr. David B. Quinalty, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
  • Moderator: Mr. Scott Belcher, Telecommunications Industry Association

June 18, 2015
Washington, DC

Innovation and Inequality: Conservative and Libertarian Perspectives - Event Audio/Video

2015 National Student Symposium
Richard A. Epstein, Elizabeth Kregor, John O. McGinnis, Frank H. Easterbrook April 17, 2015

We are in an age of accelerating technology but many fear we are also in an age of growing inequality. Does the fast pace of innovation pose a threat to social stability? Many fear that machines will take away jobs from the less skilled and extend the reach of superstars, thus deepening inequality. This panel will address the dangers of innovation to employment and equality and what, if anything, the government should do about it.

  • Prof. Richard Epstein, NYU School of Law
  • Ms. Beth Kregor, Director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Law School
  • Prof. John McGinnis, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Moderator: Hon. Frank Easterbrook, U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

This program was presented on February 21, 2015, as part of the 2015 Federalist Society National Student Symposium.

Innovation and Health Care - Event Audio/Video

2015 National Student Symposium
Peter Huber, Lindsay Kelly, Gerald Masoudi, Thomas B. Griffith April 17, 2015

Given that everyone is getting older and more prone to disease, medical innovation is one of the most important measures, if not the most important measure, of a successful health policy. Technological acceleration, including advances in genomics and stem cell research, suggest that we are on the cusp of a golden age of medical innovation. But government-imposed price controls and other policies can reduce the incentives for devising new treatments, resulting in preventable death and illness. This panel will look at the effect of Obamacare, and the policies of the FDA on innovation. More generally, will the current regulatory processes and reimbursement policies equipped to manage the next generation of personalized medicine and diagnostic devices?

  • Mr. Peter Huber, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute
  • Ms. Lindsay Kelly, Special Counsel, Irell & Manella LLP
  • Mr. Gerald Masoudi, Partner, Covington & Burling LLP; former Chief Counsel, Food and Drug Administration
  • Moderator: Hon. Thomas B. Griffith, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

This program was presented on February 21, 2015, as part of the 2015 Federalist Society National Student Symposium.

Current Issues in Patent Law and Policy - Event Audio/Video

2015 National Student Symposium
Phyllis Turner-Brim, A. Douglas Melamed, Michael J. Meurer, Adam Mortara, Danny J. Boggs April 17, 2015

Our patent system has historically been thought to be an engine of innovation, but it is much criticized today. Is a one-size-fits all model for patent duration appropriate in today's technological environment or does it simply incentivize unnecessary litigation? For instance, the rapid pace of technological change in some areas may obviate the need of lengthy patents in some areas. Should certain innovation—such as business processes be patentable? Should the patent office be reorganized or split up to better assess patents. What other types of incentives, including those provided by copyright or prizes, provide alternatives to patents?

  • Ms. Phyllis Turner-Brim, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Intellectual Ventures
  • Prof. Doug Melamed, Visiting Professor, Stanford Law School
  • Prof. Michael Meurer, Boston University School of Law
  • Mr. Adam Mortara, Partner, Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP
  • Moderator: Hon. Danny J. Boggs, U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

This program was presented on February 21, 2015, as part of the 2015 Federalist Society National Student Symposium.