Program Directory

City Club of Cleveland - Cindy Cohn, Law Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Obama administration is facing one of its first big tests on executive authority and government secrecy in addressing the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program. Legal challenges to the program present profound questions about the use and misuse of government secrecy and the state secrets privilege, the extent of unilateral presidential authority and the role of intermediaries like telecommunications companies and internet service providers in protecting citizens' privacy and assisting law enforcement. They also present questions about the balance between the constitutional and statutory rights of ordinary Americans to be free of general searches and the use of the tremendous datamining and semantic analysis capabilities of modern technologies in an effort to combat terrorism and criminal behavior.

Since its founding in 1990, The Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF") has sought to defend free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights in an era of constantly evolving technologies that are transforming society and empowering citizens as speakers, creators, and consumers. Blending the expertise of lawyers, policy analysts, activists, and technologists, EFF achieves significant victories on behalf of consumers and the general public through its Action Center and educational outreach to the press and public.

Guest speaker Cindy Cohn is the Legal Director for the EFF as well as its General Counsel. She is responsible for overseeing the EFF's overall legal strategy and supervising EFF's nine staff attorneys. Outside the Courts, Ms. Cohn has testified before Congress, been featured in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere for her work on cyberspace issues. The National Law Journal named Ms. Cohn one of 100 most influential lawyers in America in 2006 for "rushing to the barricades wherever freedom and civil liberties are at stake online." In 2007 the Journal named her one of the 50 most influential women lawyers in America.

Law Day, celebrated annually on May 1, is a special day focusing on our heritage of liberty under law and how the rule of law makes our democracy possible. This national day of celebration was officially designated by joint resolution of Congress in 1961. Every year, the American Bar Association is joined by national organizations, state and local bars, businesses, and schools, in conducting thousands of programs on the rule of law in a constitutional democracy.
May 1, 2009