I was humbled and honored to participate in Pittsburgh’s first First Amendment conference this month. The Pittsburgh Foundation and Heinz Endowments asked the CMI to pull together a panel on how technology both threatens and expands our freedoms of speech, assembly and religion. We put together a killer group that included Trevor Timm from the Freedom of Press Foundation; Stephanie Whited, who “directs communications” at The Tor Project; and David Greene, civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
It turns out that, yes, you should be afraid … of some lurking threats such as increased government surveillance and government crackdowns on whistleblowers. But I insisted that everyone provide some reason for hope as well, and the panelists had no trouble offering evidence for feeling good. They cited the Supreme Court’s narrow decision requiring law enforcement to obtain a search warrant before accessing cell phone records.
In addition, WESA offered me a prime slot to speak on The Confluence next to Robert Rosenthal, executive producer for the Center for Investigative Reporting, and Indira Lakshmanan, who teaches journalism ethics at the Poynter Institute and is a columnist for the Boston Globe. You may hear the interview here (starting around 36:00).