The 2018 Chicago-Kent College of Law/Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize has been awarded to Timothy H. Edgar, a senior fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, for his book Beyond Snowden: Privacy, Mass Surveillance, and the Struggle to Reform the NSA (Brookings Institution Press 2017).
Established in 2007 by Chicago-Kent alumnus Roy C. Palmer and his wife, Susan M. Palmer, the Palmer Prize honors exemplary works of scholarship exploring the tension between civil liberties and national security in contemporary American society. Edgar will present his book at Chicago-Kent in 2019.
In Beyond Snowden, Edgar explains both why and how we can protect our privacy without sacrificing vital intelligence capabilities. He traces the evolution of America’s mass surveillance programs in the 21st century, from the USA Patriot Act in 2001, to Obama-era reforms following Edward Snowden’s leaks of classified information in 2013, to new cryptographic technologies that could enable intelligence agencies to collect relevant data while preserving privacy. Edgar shares his ideas for reform and concludes his book with “a call for privacy and [for] civil liberties advocates and the national security community to recognize their common values in the face of a world that seemingly is turning its back on liberal democracy and human rights.”
A longtime privacy activist, Edgar joined the American Civil Liberties Union in 2001, shortly before the September 11 terrorist attacks, and testified in Congress about the expansion of government surveillance during the “War on Terror.” In 2006 he was hired by the Bush Administration as the intelligence community’s first deputy for civil liberties. After President Barack Obama created a new National Security Council position to safeguard Americans’ privacy and civil liberties in 2009, Edgar moved to the White House, where he advised the president on privacy issues in cybersecurity policy. Edgar left government in 2013 to launch Brown University’s Executive Master in Cybersecurity Program.
Benefactor Roy Palmer, a lawyer and real estate developer, was a 1962 honors graduate of Chicago-Kent and a member of its board of advisors. Mr. Palmer received the Chicago-Kent Alumni Association’s 2012 Distinguished Service Award and was named by the law school in 2013 as one of “125 Alumni of Distinction.” With his wife, Susan, he was active in numerous civic, social and philanthropic organizations. Mr. Palmer died in February 2017.
See the full list of distinguished scholars who have won the Palmer Prize since 2007.