Big Data Symposium

Sunday, April 6, 2014 - 9:00am
Yale Law School See map
127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06520
Event description: 

Given the clear privacy implications, big data has become the subject of legal scholarship, with a focus on U.S. consumer, medical, and criminal law. But surprisingly, international policy concerns arising from or exacerbated by big data remain largely unexplored.  Yet at the same time, revelations about extraterritorial U.S. bulk data collection and the rise of data privacy standards as an issue in trade agreements show that such international concerns are pressing.

Co-sponsored by the Foreign Affairs in the Internet Age initiative of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School (“FAIA”) and the Yale Journal of Law & Technology (“YJOLT”) and the Oscar M. Rubehausen Fund.  This one-day event focuses on big data concerns arising in an international context.

Livestream Big Data Symposium - click here

9 am - Breakfast- Dining Hall

10am Panel I: Big Data and Foreign Surveillance – U.S. Law & Institutions 

Media reports in recent months have revealed an array of surveillance programs that the U.S. government operates around the globe to collect and analyze the telephone metadata, location information, and Internet traffic of vast numbers of foreigners.  Like their domestic counterparts, these overseas efforts raise powerful questions about individual privacy, the right to anonymous speech, freedom of association, and other values – but in the case of foreign surveillance, those surveilled cannot rely on their own democratic institutions to provide oversight or act as a check. David Cole writes, “American law and politics have long taken the view that our constitutional and statutory privacy protections are limited to persons within the United States, and US citizens outside our borders.  Can that long-held view still hold in this new age of foreign surveillance?

-Ronald Lee

-Ira Rubinstein

-Julian Sanchez 

1 pm Panel II: Big Data and the Global Community – Transnational Law & Institutions

Even if domestic laws do not restrict one country from engaging in bulk data collection of other nations’ citizens outside of its own borders, transnational law and institutions might hem in these practices.  Do universal human rights obligations prohibit bulk data collection?  What role, if any, should the United Nations play in providing oversight?  Given reports that data collected under these programs have been used to target drone strikes, are the laws of war implicated?

-Peter Asaro

-Peter Margulies 

-April Glaser

3:15 pm Panel III: Big Data and Border Flows – Trade Agreements & Foreign Regulators

Big data implicates international privacy concerns in large part because personal data is collected and stored by private companies, not just governments.  And increasingly, trade agreements and foreign regulators (particularly in the EU) are trying to govern the flow of data across borders with an eye towards protecting the privacy interests of non-US persons.  What promise do these strategies hold?  Which regulators should be taking the lead?  What should these standards be?

-Anupam Chander

-Chris Wolf

-Joris van Hoboken


Foreign Affairs in the Internet Age