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Government Surveillance, Privacy & Data

CDT Kicks Off the First in a Series of Webinars on Tech Policy Responses to COVID-19

As government leaders, policymakers, and technology companies continue to navigate the global coronavirus pandemic, CDT is actively monitoring the latest responses and working to ensure they are grounded in civil rights and liberties. Our policy teams aim to help leaders craft solutions that balance the unique needs of the moment, while still respecting and upholding individual human rights. Find more of our work at

The world is moving rapidly to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus – and the Center for Democracy & Technology’s policy teams are working just as fast to ensure that government leaders, policymakers, and tech companies protect our civil liberties as well as our health.

As part of our response, we are hosting a series of webinar discussions on some of the most important short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19. This series will create a space to hear from our experts, ask questions, and get up to speed on cutting-edge issues in technology policy.

Our first installment looks to tackle the “Gaps in U.S. Privacy and Surveillance Law Laid Bare by Coronavirus.” Certain sensitive information — including location and health information — could be important to fight the spread of COVID-19, but lacks clear and uniform protections. The gaps often result in surprise at how personal data is repurposed, undermining trust and making users reluctant to share information. CDT experts will discuss specific issues with commercial data privacy laws, protections against government surveillance (such as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act), and how the debate is playing out both in the U.S. and Europe.

The speakers, an all-CDT affair, include:

  • Lisa Hayes, our Interim Co-CEO, General Counsel, and Vice President of Strategy, as moderator;
  • Greg Nojeim, our Senior Counsel and Director of the Freedom, Security and Technology Project;
  • Andrew Crawford, Policy Counsel on the Privacy & Data Project; and
  • Jens-Henrik Jeppesen, Representative and Director for European Affairs.

Our next installment will delve into contact tracing applications in the coronavirus context. We will be exploring whether Bluetooth apps can effectively notify people that they have had they type of contact with a person infected with COVID-19 that warrants getting tested or self-quarantine. If these contact tracing apps are effective, what will be their costs in terms of privacy?

This webinar aired Thursday, April 30, 2020. If you’d like to participate in future webinars in this series, reach out to us at [email protected].

Watch the Webinar

Screenshot of Greg Nojeim, CDT's Senior Counsel and Director of the Freedom, Security and Technology Project, in his home, wearing a jacket and glasses, while discussing gaps in U.S. privacy and surveillance law during our April 30, 2020 webinar.