North Country News
6:30 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

ACLU Discusses Privacy and Data Collection Issues

William Arkin speaking at ACLU of Vermont conference 10/30/13
William Arkin speaking at ACLU of Vermont conference 10/30/13
Credit WAMC/Pat Bradley

The ACLU of Vermont held a conference in Montpelier Wednesday looking at “Surveillance on the Northern Border”. But with revelations over the NSA monitoring allies and increasing business data collection, the discussion ranged far beyond implications within Vermont.

From meta-data websites to credit card data mining and Facebook, your personal information is being collected, sorted and classified. The American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont is concerned, and in September released a report called “Surveillance on the Northern Border” with a web video noting that we don’t know how much data the government and business is collecting. A follow-up conference in Montpelier Wednesday featured a morning session focused on broader surveillance issues, while the afternoon session spiraled into a more local discussion.  ACLU of Vermont Executive Director Alan Gilbert.

The morning’s keynote speaker, William Arkin, is a national security and military expert, and author of American Coup. He scolded attendees and even the ACLU for retaining out-of-date perspectives.

Panelist Brock Rutter, certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals in U.S., Canadian and European Privacy law, noted that the threats to privacy occurring in the U.S. are not unique.

Attorney and activist Ben Scotch notes the conference is serendipitous to recent revelations about surveillance at the national and international level.

The ACLU will post a link to a video of the conference, taped by Montpelier’s public access station ORCA Media, in a few days.

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