End-to-Semantic Accountability Project - 1st Face-to-Face Meeting

31 January - 1 February 2007
Cambridge, MA

Daniel J. Weitzner
Decentralized Information Group
MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

These slides: http://dig.csail.mit.edu/2007/01/e2esa-ftf/


  1. Why are we here?
  2. What is our goal?
  3. How do we achieve our goal?
  4. This meeting

Why 4th Amendment Perspective on Technology Change

Historical foundation:

"Ways may some day be developed by which the Government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurrences of the home.... Can it be that the Constitution affords no protection against such invasions of individual security?"
Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 467 (1928) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)

Modern response:

It would be foolish to contend that the degree of privacy secured to citizens by the Fourth Amendment has been entirely unaffected by the advance of technology.... Where, as here, the Government uses a device that is not in general public use, to explore details of the home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a “search” and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant. "
Kyllo v. United States. 533 U.S. 27 (2001) (Scalia, J.)
"[T]he law must advance with the technology to ensure the continued vitality of the Fourth Amendment
Electronic Communications Privacy Act legislative history, Senate Report, p.5

Historical Evolution of Surveillance Technology and Legal Regulation

Expansion of Technological Capabilities & 4th Amendment Protection

Communications Technology


4A trigger

4A protection
1928 Early telephone Prohibition Castle: Physical -- property/trespass (Olmstead) none b/c no trespass
1968 Mass market phones Gambling/Organized Crime People not places (Katz) Congress enacts guidance of Katz: Probable cause, limited class of crimes, after the fact inventory
1984/6 Store & forward/email [pre-emptive strike by technophiles] Activity not medium ECPA: email gets status of 1st class mail vs. 3rd party business records
1994 Transactional records Global, digital communications Power to reveal personal information vs. owner judicial supervision for transactional records access
World Wide Web and data mining Terrorism People not information Usage rules supplementing collection rules


Provide robust social and technical basis for trusting the information systems are used according to an agreed upon set of rules

How Policy Aware Architecture for the Web: End-to-End Accountability for Privacy

today's web architecture

This Meeting


  1. Review of ongoing work
  2. Planning

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