UTEP to be host of Internet privacy debate

Veronique Masterson

University of Texas at El Paso

Freedom of speech versus criminal activity – how should America address privacy concerns on the Internet? UTEP will be host to the “What Should Go on the Internet? Privacy, Freedom and Security Online” National Issues Forum from 3 to 4:30 p.m. April 18 in Room 203 of Quinn Hall on the UTEP campus.

The forum is free and open to the public.

Part of a nationwide network of locally sponsored public forums tackling public policy issues, the event will provide participants with video presentations on three alternatives for Internet privacy.

“Though the Internet is a powerful tool, it poses problems for individual privacy which everyday citizens should consider and explore,” said Chuck Boehmer, Ph.D., associate professor of political science at UTEP and NIF steering committee member. “The National Issues Forum provides such an environment for civic engagement.”

The forums provide a platform for people of diverse views and experiences to seek a shared understanding of the problem and to search for common ground for action.

From safeguarding personal information to avoiding censorship at all cost, information on Internet privacy alternatives is intended to stir deliberations on the issue.

“Individuals are increasingly becoming affected by technological changes that fundamentally affect the way government, business and individuals conduct their affairs,” Boehmer said. “However, with an array of new technologies emerging, there are significant implications for individual privacy.”

Materials for the forums are produced by the KetteringFoundation of Dayton, Ohio, and are available online at the National IssuesForums Institute website www.nifi.org.

The National Issues Forums Institute is a nonpartisan,nonprofit organization chartered in 1989 for the purpose of promoting the National Issues Forums.

The Internet privacy topic will also be addressed from 7 to 8:30 p.m. April 24 during a live forum on the  El Paso and Southern New Mexico Public Broadcasting Station channel KCOS TV.

Boehmer and Sherry Lewis, trained certified moderator for National Issues Forums and a lecturer with the Department of Communication at UTEP, also work to coordinate forums for groups on and off the University campus. For more information about holding a forum, contact Lewis at 915-747-5914.

For more information on National Issues Forums, visit www.nifi.org.

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