Graphic: Masthead for Future of Cyber Speech, Media, and Privacy Symposium.

The Future of Cyber Speech, Media, and Privacy

Washburn Law's Robert J. Dole Center for Law and Government in partnership with the Washburn Law Journal is pleased to host "The Future of Cyber Speech, Media, and Privacy."

The symposium will be held Wednesday, November 6, 2019, at the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center on the Washburn University campus. Free parking is available south and west of Bradbury Thompson.

This symposium explores the changing landscape in how we communicate, share information, and retain privacy as more and more of our interactions are occuring online. While online technology has increased our capacity to communicate and share information, many of the personal details of our lives are now readily accessible online. Have we relinquished our right to privacy? What role do media platforms and the government have in regulating the content of our online interactions? The symposium will feature a keynote speaker and two panel discussions comprised of nationally recognized experts in the field:

  • Hiding behind the Screen: Government and Media Platform Regulation of Online Speech
  • Is Privacy Overrated? Privacy Torts and Media in the 21st Century

Registration for this program is closed.
You are still welcome to attend but please be advised
that some sessions will be standing room only.

Symposium Schedule

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

9:30 a.m. – Registration

9:50 a.m. – Welcome

Photograph: Carla Pratt. Photograph: Nicolette Rodriquez.

  • Carla D. Pratt, Dean and Professor of Law, Washburn University School of Law
  • Nicolette Rodriguez, Editor-in-Chief, Washburn Law Journal

10:00 a.m. – Panel 1: Hiding behind the Screen: Government and Media Platform Regulation of Online Speech

When horrific events are increasingly documented online, debate ensues about the responsibility of government and media platforms to regulate online speech. In both extreme circumstances and daily interactions, what is the responsibility of media platforms for how their users speak and spread ideas? What are the duties of governments to monitor or regulate that speech?

Photograph: Lindsey Barrett. Photograph: AKyle Langvardt. Photograph: Jonathan Peters.

Photograph: Joseph Tomain. Photograph: David Rubenstein.

  • Lindsey Barrett, Staff Attorney and Clinical Teaching Fellow, Institute for Public Representation Communications & Technology Clinic, Georgetown University Law Center [ Bio ]
  • Kyle Langvardt, Associate Professor of Law, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law [ Bio ]
  • Jonathan Peters, Assistant Professor, Journalism, University of Georgia School of Law [ Bio ]
  • Joseph A. Tomain, Lecturer Senior Fellow, Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, Indiana University Bloomington Mauer School of Law [ Bio ]
  • Moderator: David S. Rubenstein, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Law and Government, Washburn University School of Law [ Bio ]

12:00 p.m. – Box Lunch (provided to registrants)

12:30 p.m. – Keynote Address: News as Surveillance

A study by researchers at Princeton of online tracking revealed that news sites had the most trackers of any of the types of websites studied. News organizations track and collect large amounts of personal data about their readers to support their advertising-based business model. However, surveillance of readers presents significant First Amendment problems both as a violation of "intellectual privacy" and because of the threat it poses to democratic values and informed individual decision-making. Legal scholars should examine ways to assist the press in shifting its business model so it may better play its absolutely vital First Amendment role.

Photograph: Anson Tullis.

  • Introduction: Anson R. Tullis, Senior Articles Editor, Washburn Law Journal

Photograph: Erin Carroll.

  • Erin C. Carroll, Associate Professor of Law, Legal Practice, Georgetown University Law Center [ Bio ]

1:15 p.m. – Panel 2: Is Privacy Overrated? Privacy Torts and Media in the 21st Century

With the rapid growth of online media platforms, modern understandings and expectations of privacy are changing. With these changes in how we understand privacy, how are privacy interests and torts responding? What is the value of privacy in the online era?

Photograph: Amy Gajda. Photograph: Scott Skinner-Thompson. Photograph: Rory Bahadur.

  • Amy Gajda, Class of 1937 Professor of Law, Tulane University Law School [ Bio ]
  • Scott Skinner-Thompson, Associate Professor of Law , University of Colorado School of Law [ Bio ]
  • Moderator and Panelist: Rory D. Bahadur, Professor of Law, Washburn University School of Law [ Bio ]

2:30 p.m. – Acknowledgments and Adjourn

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Registrations for this symposium are no longer being accepted.
You are welcome to attend the symposium but we are unable to provide lunch for individuals who have not pre-registered.

Date / Location

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Washburn University
Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center
Parking: south and west of Bradbury.
Get directions and map

Registration Fee

There is no charge to attend. A box lunch is provided to those who pre-register by NOON on Friday, November 1 (we are not offering specific dietary restriction accommodations though lunch will include a vegetarian option).

No CLE credit is being offered.


Seating for the symposium is limited. So that we may accommodate as many attendees as possible and be sure to order enough lunches, if you register and are unable to attend please contact, as soon as possible, Donna Vilander at or (785) 670-1105.

Assistance for Special Needs

If you require special services or auxiliary aids to assist you while attending the event, please call Donna Vilander at (785) 670-1105.

Washburn Law Journal Special Issue

Washburn Law Journal, volume 58, issue 3 (summer 2019), will be dedicated to the topic of this symposium, and articles written by the participants will be featured. Participants are encouraged, but not required, to submit an article, essay, etc., to take advantage of this opportunity for publication. Authors who cannot attend the symposium, but would like to submit, will also be considered for publication in the Journal.

Recent symposium issues of the Washburn Law Journal have focused on law in the post-truth era, the future of employment law, the future of housing, Brown v. Board of Education at 60, immigration law, oil and gas law, the rule of law and the war on terrorism (part 1 | part 2), and humanizing legal education. See the Journal's archive for other past issues.

Inquiries about publication opportunities in the Washburn Law Journal should be directed to Nicolette Rodriguez, Editor-in-Chief, at

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General Inquiries

Shawn Leisinger
Associate Dean for Centers and External Programs
(785) 670-2464

Professor David Rubenstein
Director, Center for Law and Government
(785) 670-1682

Media Contact

Shelia Summers
Director of Marketing Communications
(785) 670-1784