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Sylvester interviewed about the Patriot Act on 'Arizona Week'


Douglas Sylvester
September 23, 2011

Interim Dean Douglas Sylvester spoke on ‘Arizona Week,’ a program of Arizona Public Media on KAET-TV, about the impact of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 on civil liberties and freedoms.

In the interview aired on Sept. 16, Sylvester said, since the passage of the Patriot Act by former President Bush freedoms have decreased for American citizens. With the extension of the Patriot Act by President Obama last May, he said, freedoms will continue to decrease.

“For a very long time the law was very strict in attempting to curb the ability of government to engage in surveillance of American citizens…especially for anti-terrorism efforts between the individual being investigated and information being sought,” Sylvester said. “So what the Patriot Act really did across the board was lower the standards that were necessary to show the individual’s connection to terrorism before they could be investigated.”

He said this change of policy increased the ability of the federal government to go into homes and offices, both physically and virtually.

Sylvester, a professor and Faculty Fellow in the Center for Law, Science & Innovation, was named Interim Dean of the College of Law in May 2011. He previously was Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development, and was responsible for building an environment that fosters faculty scholarship, organizing speaker series, mentoring junior faculty, and seeking innovative ways to increase the faculty's visibility.

Sylvester has published, taught and lectured on issues of intellectual property law and commercialization, international law, emerging technologies and privacy. 

In 2007, Sylvester was appointed Special Consultant to a National Academy of Sciences panel charged with reforming the U.S. Census. He was the founding Faculty Director of the innovative Technology Ventures Clinic, which introduces students to transactional legal practice in high-technology sectors.