By Abby Weingarten
New College alumna Jennifer Granick ’86 is the surveillance and cybersecurity counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)—an expert in intellectual property law, free speech, privacy law and other issues related to computer security.
She will be closing out this season’s “New Topics New College” series with a talk entitled “Cybersecurity and Civil Liberties” at 5 p.m. Thurs. March 18 via Zoom.
What is the basis of the discussion? Because Granick is known for championing civil liberties in the age of technology and ubiquitous surveillance, she will first give an overview of the current digital landscape.
“The ability to speak, organize and create was revolutionized by the Internet, but technology has also been an engine for both public and private surveillance (opening up opportunities for civil liberties abuses and discrimination),” event organizers stated. “To mitigate those abuses, individuals have been demanding improved cybersecurity measures, and so the political playing field has shifted to a battle over encryption.”
Granick plans to explore this current debate and legislative proposals, as well as offer tips on how people can protect themselves and get involved. She is the author of the award-winning 2017 Cambridge Press book, American Spies: Modern Surveillance, Why You Should Care, and What To Do About It. She also fought in the courtroom against the scapegoating of Internet activist Aaron Swartz.
In 2016, Granick received Duo Security’s Women in Security Academic Award for her expertise in the field, and for her direction and guidance of young women in the security industry. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) described Granick as an “NBA all-star of surveillance law.”
“To many Americans, these topics [cybersecurity and civil liberties] seem arcane and academic. But legally and socially, the choices we make on these issues will determine whether democracy will survive the digital age,” event organizers stated. “Granick has a gift for making these choices easy to grasp. Now more than ever, we need to hear her lucid voice.”
Granick’s “New Topics” event is open to students, alumni and the entire campus community. The lecture series itself is a collaboration between New College and the New College Foundation, which began in October. To mark New College’s 60th anniversary, this year’s lineup has featured multiple noteworthy alumni whose New College experience prepared them for careers of exceptional impact.
Tickets for the event are $10. Reservations can be made here or by calling the New College events hotline at 941-487-4888. Tickets are free for New College students, faculty, staff and alumni. Reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance.
For more information, visit ncf.edu/alumni-and-friends/the-foundation/ntnc-tickets.
Abby Weingarten is the senior editor in the Office of Communications & Marketing.