Workshop to address ethical issues in national security work

Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Surveillance technology, big data analysis, national security threats and global demographics continue to evolve alongside intelligence and security work. As technologies and protocols change, so do the ethical frameworks that guide them.

Ethics in the National Security Professions,” a half-day workshop April 15 at IU Bloomington, will grapple with ethical questions, new and old, in the intelligence sector.

Alexander Joel

Alexander Joel

“Today’s students and professionals seek career opportunities that span traditional boundaries,” said David Delaney, the deputy director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research at Indiana University. “This kind of event helps people envision possibilities across such boundaries that may improve research, professional environments and ultimately governance in national security activities.”

The workshop begins with a keynote address, “Ethics, Transparency and Trust: The Ethical Intelligence Professional,” by Alexander Joel, civil liberties protection officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Joel’s lecture will explore the changing ethical landscape in the intelligence sector and pose ongoing and future strategies for increased transparency throughout the intelligence community.

A panel of IU faculty will follow the keynote to discuss whistleblowing, cryptography and the law. Panelists include Gene Coyle, former CIA agent and professor of practice in the School of Global and International Studies; Janet Near, Dale M. Coleman Chair and professor of management in the Kelley School of Business; and Steven Myers, associate professor and director of security informatics in the School of Informatics and Computing.

“I hope students come away with an appreciation of how complicated it is to find a balance between maintaining legitimate individual privacy concerns and for federal agencies to do their jobs of providing security to Americans,” Coyle said. “Our federal national security agencies generally depend on achieving proper behavior by having hundreds of regulations on how employees are to act. But can you count on people following those regulations, when in many instances, no one else would know what a person did?”

Panelists will grapple with pivotal cases such as the Snowden files and the unfolding Apple and FBI controversy.

“Since 2012, the U.S. Intelligence Community has espoused a set of common ethics principles to guide professional conduct. But only a small number of national security professionals — for example, lawyers and doctors — are subject to enforceable ethics codes,” Delaney said. “Ethical dimensions of all government work are matters of public concern that should be open to research and thoughtful public discussion.”

The workshop runs from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Maurer School of Law, room 125. It will also be available through a live stream and live tweeted with the Twitter hashtag #FutureEthics. Lunch will be provided for those who RSVP by April 11.

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