10:30 am EDT - 11:30 am EDT

Past Event

A conversation with the CIA’s privacy and civil liberties officer: Balancing transparency and secrecy in a digital age

Friday, May 31, 2019

10:30 am - 11:30 am EDT

Brookings Institution
Saul/Zilkha Room

1775 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC

The modern age poses many questions about the nature of privacy and civil liberties. Data flows across borders and through the hands of private companies, governments, and non-state actors. For the U.S. intelligence community, what do civil liberties protections look like in this digital age? These kinds of questions are on top of longstanding ones about how organizations like the CIA can necessarily operate in secret to keep people safe but still be responsive to legitimate concerns of the public. What should we reasonably expect from an intelligence agency when it comes to transparency?

At the CIA, the Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties (OPCL), led by the CIA’s privacy and civil liberties officer, helps to ensure that privacy and civil liberties are integrated into the day-to-day conduct of the agency’s intelligence mission. OPCL provides privacy and civil liberties guidance regarding the collection and handling of sensitive information in connection with online systems, programs, and enterprises across the agency. OPCL also informs and trains agency personnel regarding privacy and civil liberties protections.

On May 31, CIA Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer Ben Huebner discussed these questions and more with Brookings Federal Executive Fellow Ryan Trapani. After their discussion the speakers answered questions from the audience.