Digital Rights Project

At the heart of the Digital Rights Project is a belief that technology must be used and regulated in a manner that respects the dignity of the user. As technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous, novel questions over how to respect civil liberties in the information age have emerged. 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. Our organization engages in legal research and community advocacy where law, technology, and social justice intersect. Our work is underpinned by the belief that privacy is a fundamental right and a desire to unearth how race, class, and power are implicated in government and corporate surveillance. 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 work directly with the ACLU of Northern California’s Technology and Civil Liberties team on projects involving legal research and writing and community advocacy. Students will conduct research on the judicial implementation and enforcement of the state’s groundbreaking electronic privacy law, the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA) and assist with research, trainings, and related materials for local communities related to government surveillance practices and applicable privacy and surveillance laws. Students who are interested in committing more time may also have the opportunity to assist the ACLU with research related to ongoing surveillance and privacy legislation and 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 SLP training with the ACLU; weekly working meetings; time spent independently identifying cases, monitoring legislation, and conducting research for ongoing litigation; and supporting community trainings during the semester.

For more information, please contact the student leaders at digitalrightsproject@berkeley.edu.