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Surveillance on the Silver Screen

Can the NSA and the police really do that? From PRISM to drones to ‘Stingrays’ that snoop on cell phones, join us at the movies for a close look at how government surveillance has caught up with the fables dreamed up for Hollywood flicks. We'll discuss what’s technologically possible, what’s legal, and the impact on business and society with Timothy Edgar, a civil liberties advisor for intelligence issues in both the Bush and Obama administrations, and Nicole Ozer, Technology and Civil Liberties Policy Director at the ACLU of Northern California.


  1. How does surveillance technology in the movies compare to what police and governments use today?
  2. What are some examples of legal and illegal uses of surveillance technology in the movies?
  3. How does Hollywood affect our perceptions of real life surveillance?
  4. What role should entertainment play in the debate on privacy and surveillance?
  5. What do these movies and government surveillance tell us about the digital privacy rights of attendees?



Matthew Cagle, Volunteer Attorney, ACLU of Northern California

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