Technological advancement has undoubtedly benefited society, but it raises new questions about how to protect civil liberties in the age of information. Should law enforcement surveillance technology be equipped with facial recognition? Can government officials legally block users from following them on Twitter, and can Twitter legally restrict the speech of government officials? How can we examine and work to dismantle the racist logics underpinning surveillance technologies?
The Digital Rights Project gives Berkeley Law students an opportunity to address some of these questions and to conduct substantive work at the intersection of law, technology, and social justice. DRP is committed to doing this work through a lens that acknowledges and addresses the impacts of racism and systemic inequality on surveillance and technology. It will provide a space to interrogate how the history, development, and implementation of surveillance technologies impact the communities we work with and the work that we do.
Students in DRP will support the work of the ACLU of Northern California’s Technology and Civil Liberties Team in conducting research and organizing community trainings. This work will focus on identifying cases involving noncompliance with the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA), monitoring lawmaker agendas in communities around California for surveillance developments, and supporting trainings for community groups about how to implement or challenge surveillance ordinances. Students who are interested in committing more time may also have the opportunity to assist the ACLU with research related to ongoing litigation, subject to the organization’s needs.
Supervision: Students will receive training and be supervised by attorneys at the ACLU of Northern California.
Time Commitment: 8-12 hours per month. This includes an initial training with the ACLU; bi-weekly working meetings; time spent independently identifying cases, monitoring legislation, and conducting research for ongoing litigation; and supporting community trainings during the semester.