Summer 2017 Technology Internship Opportunity, ACLUF, Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, NY

National Offices, New York, NY
New York
November 29, 2016

Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project

For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.  Whether it’s preserving the right to have an abortion, ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than a million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability or national origin.


Are you interested in social change through technology? Do you want to improve privacy, protect free speech or improve the state of cybersecurity? Are you able to explain complex technological concepts to non-technical people?

The ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project is seeking several technology interns for the summer of 2017. The Internship will be full-time for 10 weeks, with an expected start date of June 1, 2017.  Internship placement opportunities exist at our headquarters in New York, and with state affiliate offices in San Francisco, Seattle or Boston. The internship includes a stipend of $5000.

The Speech, Privacy and Technology (SPT) project is part of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, which works to strengthen democratic institutions and values, including the values of government transparency and accountability, and to reinforce the United States’ commitment to human rights and the rule of law. 

The Center for Democracy includes, in addition to the Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, the Immigrants’ Rights Project, the Voting Rights Project, the Human Rights Project, and the National Security Project.

The SPT Project is dedicated to protecting and expanding the First Amendment freedoms of expression, association, and inquiry; expanding the right to privacy and increasing the control that individuals have over their personal information; and ensuring that civil liberties are enhanced rather than compromised by new advances in science and technology.  The project is currently litigating cases and conducting other advocacy efforts on a variety of issues, including political protest, freedom of expression online, privacy of electronic information, journalists’ rights, scientific freedom, and openness in the courts.


Assignments will be tailored based on the intern’s skills and interests. For example:

  • Those interested in cryptography and programming could spend the summer adding much-needed features to a widely used secure communications library or application.
  • Those interested in technical standards could spend the summer analyzing, identifying flaws in, and proposing improvements to widely used internet protocols.
  • Those interested in research and advocacy could spend the summer working on a campaign to pressure a government agency or corporation to improve their own cybersecurity practices to better protect the data of people who interact with them.


This technologist internship is open to graduate students in computer science or another relevant technical field. Undergraduate students may be considered, but candidates with a Bachelor’s degree are preferred.

Applicants should possess:

  • The ability to identify, follow and understand technical issues relating to the Internet, telephone networks, computers, and surveillance and other technologies with implications for civil liberties.
  • Knowledge of one or more specific areas such as Internet architecture, network protocols, cybersecurity, system administrations, etc.
  • The ability to delve into and master the relevant operations of technological systems outside one’s area of expertise.
  • Strong communications skills, especially the ability to communicate complex technical issues to ACLU staff and the general public.
  • The ability to work independently as well as within a team.
  • Strong analytic skills.


Please submit a letter of interest, a resume, the names and telephone numbers of two references, and an unofficial transcript. If possible, please submit materials as a single PDF, with your first and last name in the file name, and list all documents enclosed on your cover letter.  Please indicate in your cover letter which location you would prefer for your internship.   Applications should be sent to:   Please reference SPT Summer Technology Internship in the subject line.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled. The application deadline is January 31, 2017.

This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status.   

The ACLU undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.

We encourage applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to Correspondence sent to this email address that is not related to requests for accommodations will not be reviewed. Applicants should follow the instructions above regarding how to apply.

The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU.” 



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