David Levine advances scholarship and service on fracking and spying
In recent weeks, Elon Law professor David S. Levine continued his work on the impacts of secrecy in hydraulic fracturing operations and ramifications of NSA spying, including a Sept. 20 article in Slate.
Levine has spoken and written about the protection of the public’s interest in the operations of entities engaged in hydraulic fracturing (also known as “fracking”), as well as the impacts of reportedly unauthorized spying by the NSA. Some of his activities are detailed below.
On August 6, at a public meeting of the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission’s (MEC) Protection of Trade Secrets and Proprietary Information Study Group, Levine discussed an April letter to the Commissioner of the Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) that he co-authored with Professor Mary Lyndon of St. John’s Law School. Levine was appointed as a member of the Study Group in June. The letter concerned regulations regarding trade secrets held by entities engaged in fracking in Alaska. The letter, signed by 10 law professors including Professor Lawrence Lessig of Harvard Law School, urged the AOGCC to require disclosure of trade secrets, like the chemical formula of fracking fluids, to it.
On August 23, the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society (CIS), where Levine is an affiliate scholar, published a letter co-authored by Levine and Lyndon, and filed with the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM). That letter urges the BLM to reconsider proposed regulations that would limit the public’s access to fracking trade secrets. The letter was posted to American University School of Law’s Infojustice website.
In addition to this work, Levine spoke on August 9 at Cardozo Law’s Intellectual Property Scholars Conference. At the conference, Levine presented insights from his draft article entitled, “Game Over: Secrecy and Collective Interests in International [IP] Lawmaking,” assessing factors that should be considered when deciding when to make a draft negotiating text public.
Moreover, Levine has written about recent allegations of illegal domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA). On August 29, by invitation, Levine spoke on a panel at the American Political Science Association’s annual meeting entitled “Communication, and the First and Fourth Amendments.” Levine’s discussion was based on a project entitled “Data Secrecy and the Blurring of the Public and Private,” focusing on NSA spying and expert input into lawmaking. He discussed this same project on a CIS affiliates conference call on September 4.
Finally, Levine is a signatory to an August 28 amicus brief filed in the United States Supreme Court in ACLU v. Clapper, involving NSA spying issues and abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, authored by Professor Laura Donohue of Georgetown Law.