MFIA Access and Accountability Conference 2018

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Yale Law School

127 Wall Street

New Haven, CT 06511

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  • A Conference for Transparency Advocates

  • **When registering, please select which day you will be attending and THEN which meals you will be partaking in so we may have an accurate meal count. Thank you.**

  • Friday, October 12

    8:00 Registration and Breakfast

    9:00 Welcome & Introduction

    9:15 Journalism Under Fire

    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.

    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)

    11:15 Coffee Break

    11:30 Law Enforcement Accountability

    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

    1:45 The Privacy Paradox

    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

    1. National security accountability. Explorationof 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 Metcalfe (Yale),
    James Risen (First Look Media), Jeramie Scott (EPIC)

    2. Algorithmic accountability. 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: Chris Bavitz (Harvard); Solon Barocas (Cornell);
    Nick Diakopoulos (Northwestern), Esha Bhandari (ACLU),

    4:15 Coffee Break

    4:30 The Reform Agenda

    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)

  • Saturday, October 13 (For Clinicians, Academics and Students)

    8:00 Breakfast

    8:30 Overview of Day’s Objectives

    8:45 Advancing Transparency in a Clinical Setting

    Panel discussion of how transparency issues arise and are addressed in clinics not dedicated to transparency as their primary mission. Clinicians will have an opportunity to share lessons learned, identify ongoing transparency needs and the pedagogical opportunities they present, and explore innovative strategies to promote transparency, such as partnering with NGOs and leveraging law school faculty expertise.

    Discussants: Dale Cohen (entertainment-UCLA), Megan Graham (tech- Berkeley),
    Amy Kapczynski (public health -Yale), Michael Wishnie (workers & immigrants’ rights-Yale)

    10:00 Breakout Sessions

    1. Accountability clinic nuts & bolts. Structuring transparency advocacy into a clinical setting, handling supervision, litigation roles and responsibilities for students, developing a docket, identifying state and local needs.

    Discussants: Mark Jackson (Cornell), Patrick Kabat (Cleveland), Jack Lerner (UC Irvine), Jonathan Manes (SUNY Buffalo)

    2. Accountability opportunities for the non-clinician. Developing a practicum, writing policy papers, amicus opportunities, and other means for non-clinical faculty to engage with transparency and accountability issues.

    Discussants:RonNell Anderson Jones (Utah), David Ardia (UNC), Ahmed Ghappour(BU), Heidi Kitrosser (U. MN)

  • 11:00 Coffee Break

    11:15 Emerging Issues and Opportunities for Clinicians

    Panel discussion of promising legal theories and opportunities to improve transparency through litigation and policy work, potentially including such topics as developing legal precedent for more effective protection of newsgathering activities, ways to assist journalists in multiple jurisdictions working on collaborative projects, achieving pro-active disclosure obligations using the 2016 FOIA Improvements Act, or expanding the scope of the constitutional access right.

    Discussants: Katie Townsend (RCFP), Seth Wessler (The Nation Institute)

    12:30 Lunch Conversation: What Does It Take to Build A Network?

    Discussion about what it takes to build and maintain an effective network of like-minded individuals or groups working toward a common goal by those who have done it.

    Moderator: Gabe Rottman (RCFP)

    Panelists: Joanne Lin (Amnesty USA), Elena Saxonhouse (Sierra Club),
    Kendra Albert (Berkman Center)

    2:00 Closing Remarks

    2:15 Accountability Clinics Network: Post-Conference Planning Session

    Post-conference session for clinicians interested in being a part of an accountability clinics network. Through a facilitated discussion, the group will review goals set for the network in 2017 and achievements of the past year, identify next steps, set priorities, re-formulate a steering committee and make commitments.

    Facilitator: Mary Anderson (Mission + Strategy), Bruce Brown (RCFP), Dave Schulz (MFIA)

    * * * * *

    This conference is made possible by generous support received from
    the Democracy Fund and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

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Yale Law School

127 Wall Street

New Haven, CT 06511

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