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

    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 legislation to create a publicly funded National Endowment for Investigative Reporting, improvements to the Freedom of Information Act, a national anti-SLAPP law, 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: Jack Gillum (Pro Publica); Seth Kreimer (Penn); John Langford (MFIA); Lynn Oberlander (Gizmodo)

    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: David Harris (U. Pitt); Jamie Kalven (Invisible Institute),
    Jonathan Manes (SUNY Buffalo); Nabiha Syed (Buzzfeed)

    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)

    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: Alex Abdo (Knight Institute), James Risen (First Look Media),
    Hina Shamsi (ACLU), Hope Metcalfe (Yale)*

    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 Barocos (Cornell);
    Nick Diakopoulos (Northwestern), Esha Bhandari (ACLU),

    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: Jameel Jaffer (Knight Institute)

    Panelists: Jack Balkin (Yale), Justin Florence (Protect Democracy);

    Saturday, October 13 (For Clinicians- ONLY)

    8:45 Overview of Day’s Objectives

    9:00 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: Muneer Ahmed (workers & immigrants’ rights-Yale);
    Craig Futterman (policing- Chicago); Megan Graham (tech- Berkeley)

    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:David Ardia (UNC); Ahmed Ghappour (BU); Heidi Kitrosser (U. Minn);
    Sonja West (U. Ga)

    11:30 Emerging Issues for Clinicians

    Panel discussion of promising legal theories and opportunities to improve transparency through litigation and policy work, including for example the development of pro-active disclosure obligations using the 2016 FOIA Improvements Act, expanding the scope of the constitutional access right, or constructing a legal framework for more effective protection of newsgathering activities.

    Discussion leaders: John Langford (MFIA), Katie Townsend (RCFP)

    12:45 Lunch

    1:30 Leveraging Impact: Building the Accountability Clinics Network

    Discussion about the development of a national Accountability Clinics Network to leverage the accountability efforts of law school clinics around the country.

    Discussion leaders: Bruce Brown (RCFP), David Schulz (MFIA)

    2:45 Closing Remarks

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Yale Law School

127 Wall Street

New Haven, CT 06511

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