In Poverty, Under Surveillance

Examining the trade-off between privacy and public assistance

New America Foundation
Thursday, December 12th
12:15 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

For most Americans, news of NSA's domestic spying program was shocking. But for one group, living under government surveillance is routine--people in poverty. For families and individuals accessing the public benefits system, ceding extensive personal and financial information and submitting to unannounced home visits, fingerprinting or drug testing are the cost of receiving assistance. And for some policy makers, these intrusions still don't go far enough in regulating who receives these benefits and how they are used.

Surveillance of poor families raises questions with universal relevance: What are the implications of having different standards of privacy based on financial status? Under what circumstances can our privacy be transacted away, and where are the limits? What responsibility do government agencies have to protect personal information? Is technology keeping our information safer, or putting it more at risk?

Aleta Sprague
Policy Analyst, Asset Building Program, New America Foundation

Featured Speakers:
Brigid Schulte
Fellow, Breadwinners and Caregivers Program, New America Foundation
Staff Writer, Washington Post
Author, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time (forthcoming)

Virginia Eubanks
University at Albany, SUNY
Author, Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age

Michele Gilman
Director, Civil Advocacy Clinic, University of Baltimore

Meaghan O'Connor
Assistant Director of Programs and Partnerships, DC Public Library

Seeta Gangadharan
Senior Research Fellow, Open Technology Institute, New America Foundation

To RSVP for the event:

Join the conversation online using
and following @AssetsNAF & @OTI

Can't make it to the event? A live webcast will be available.

For questions, contact Kirsten Holtz at New America at (202) 735-2806 or [email protected]