Statement on U.S. Travel Ban

The Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium strongly condemns the Executive Order "Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry To The United States," signed on January 27, 2017, which suspends the issuance of visas and other immigration benefits—including entry into the United States—to nationals of "countries of particular concern."

The annual Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium (PETS) brings together privacy experts from around the world to present and discuss recent advances and new perspectives on research in privacy technologies. PETS/PoPETs is the premier venue for novel applied and/or theoretical research into the design, analysis, experimentation, or fielding of privacy-enhancing technologies.

This EO fundamentally harms this mission by inhibiting the free movement of researchers and ideas. Such travel restrictions are harmful to science in general, and our community in particular. Not only does it inhibit valuable members of our community from participating in events in the U.S., reports of overly intrusive screening (particularly of electronic devices and social media accounts) and detention may discourage more researchers from coming to the U.S. Furthermore, the blanket application of this ban without warning to students, permanent residents, visa holders, and even dual citizens inhibits the ability of U.S. persons to travel to other countries for academic events and collaboration, secure in the knowledge that they will be able to return home. The unannounced and sudden manner in which this policy was implemented has added to its detrimental and chilling effects.

Authors contemplating submission to PETS 2017 should not hesitate to submit over concern that they might not able to meet the requirement to present at PETS due to uncertainty about changing rules for entering the United States, or due to conscientious objections to travel to the US while discriminatory border control policies against our colleagues are in place. The editors of PoPETs will treat all submissions with equal consideration regardless of where authors are from, and reviews themselves will be blind as usual.

The organizers of PETS will make every effort to support the presentation of accepted papers at PETS by their authors, preferably in person. We also plan to use technical means to make possible remote participation for those with issues entering the United States. We invite authors and participants who are unable or unwilling to travel to PETS 2017 under the current circumstances to contact the program and general chairs to discuss how they can continue to participate in the community.

PETS 2018 and PETS 2019 are planned to take place in Europe (2018 in Spain and 2019 in Sweden).