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UVU Constitution Week Conference To Examine The State Of Privacy In Today’s Society, Featuring Us Department Of Homeland Security Founding Secretary And Prominent British Mep, Author And Journalist

11 September 2013 No Comment

September 11, 2013

For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Whitney Wilkinson

Written by: Heather Wrigley

Utah Valley University’s Center for Constitutional Studies will host its Constitution Week Conference, titled “The Diminishing Right of Privacy,” Sept. 17-18, 2013. Among this year’s distinguished participants are special keynote speakers Thomas Ridge, founding secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Daniel Hannan, British member of parliament for the European Union and popular author and journalist. Conference tickets are free and available to the public.

“While we have not always completely agreed on what should be considered private, Americans have long cherished, fought for and expected from their government, and from one another, certain basic standards of privacy,” said Rick Griffin, director of the Center for Constitutional Studies (CCS) at UVU.

“Over the last several years, the world has experienced a massive explosion of information and technological advancements in communication, social media, digital data storage, and national and domestic security, which though beneficial in many ways to society, have greatly diminished, and in some cases nearly extinguished, critical elements of privacy,” Griffin continued. “In fact, recently, some have declared privacy to be overrated and even dead. As modern society strives to balance individual liberty with technological developments and calls for increased security and more efficient government, it is vital to the well-being of the nation that long-held traditions and legal and constitutional protections related to privacy are both respected and sustained.”

The conference will open Sept. 17, 2013, at 10 a.m., with a keynote by Ridge, titled “Balancing National Security and Privacy Concerns in Post-9-11 America.” Born in Pittsburgh’s Steel Valley, Ridge was raised in a working-class family in veterans’ public housing in Erie, Penn. His accolades include graduating with honors from Harvard University in 1967; earning the Bronze Star for Valor, the Combat Infantry Badge and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry as an infantry staff sergeant in Vietnam; completing a law degree at Penn State University; serving as a U.S. congressman from Pennsylvania for six consecutive terms; serving as the first assistant to the president for homeland security; and becoming the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Ridge has received numerous awards and honorary degrees in recognition of his contributions to business, the environment and the military.

An impressive lineup of other privacy experts will address topics ranging from national security and law enforcement to freedom of the press, health care and cyberspace. Notably, these events will include Alessandro Acquisti’s cutting edge research on facial recognition technology, which was recently highlighted on 60 Minutes. 

The conference will close on Sept. 18 with a dynamic evening program featuring a keynote address, “The Demise of Privacy, Property and Sovereignty in the European Union,” by Daniel Hannan. Elected to represent South East England in the European Parliament in 1999, Hannan currently serves as a member of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs for the European Parliament. A popular contributor to The Telegraph and recipient of various awards for his journalism, speeches and legislation, Hannan is a highly sought-after orator on both sides of the Atlantic.

The evening program will also include musical performances by UVU music ensembles and remarks by CCS Director Griffin and UVU President Matthew S. Holland. The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. (seating starts at 5:45 p.m.) in the Science Building auditorium (SB 134).

Admittance to the conference is limited, but may be reserved in advance by visiting the Center for Constitutional Studies in suite 305 of the UVU Library or by calling 801-863-5470.

For more information about conference speakers and the schedule of events, please visit uvu.edu/ccs, or call the center at 801-863-5470.

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