About the ACLU's Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology
The ACLU’s Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology (SPT) 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 working 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.
Ben Wizner (@benwizner) is the director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project. For more than fifteen years, he has worked at the intersection of civil liberties and national security, litigating numerous cases involving airport security policies, government watch lists, surveillance practices, targeted killing, and torture. He appears regularly in the global media, has testified before Congress, and is an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law. Since July of 2013, he has been the principal legal advisor to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Ben is a graduate of Harvard College and New York University School of Law and was a law clerk to the Hon. Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
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Esha Bhandari is a staff attorney with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, where she works on litigation and advocacy to protect freedom of expression and privacy rights in the digital age. She also focuses on the impact of big data and artificial intelligence on civil liberties. She has litigated cases including Sandvig v. Sessions, a First Amendment challenge to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act on behalf of researchers who test for housing and employment discrimination online, and Alasaad v. Nielsen, a challenge to suspicionless electronic device searches at the U.S. border. Esha was previously an Equal Justice Works fellow with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, where she was involved in litigating cases concerning a right to counsel in immigration proceedings and immigration detainer policies. Esha is a graduate of McGill University, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and Columbia Law School, and served as a law clerk to the Hon. Amalya L. Kearse of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Vera Eidelman is a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, where she focuses on litigation and advocacy to protect free speech online; the right to protest; and public access to secret algorithms used in criminal trials. Vera was previously a William J. Brennan fellow with the Speech, Privacy & Technology Project. Vera is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School. During law school, she worked in Yale’s Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic and interned with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Before joining SPT, she served as a law clerk to the Hon. Beth Labson Freeman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Daniel Kahn Gillmor is a senior staff technologist with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. He is an active developer for Debian, one of the oldest and largest free software operating systems, in addition to many other free software projects. Daniel is also a participant in the development of Internet protocols for secure communications with the IETF. He has served on the Leadership Committee of May First/People Link, a mutual aid Internet organization for social justice advocates, and has led discussions on cryptography and data sovereignty issues at conferences from Banja Luka to Hong Kong. Daniel is a graduate of Brown University’s computer science program.
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Brian Hauss is a staff attorney with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, where he focuses on free speech litigation and advocacy. Brian has litigated cases involving political boycotts, municipal advertising restrictions, defamation, and speech crimes, among other issues. Brian was previously a staff attorney with the ACLU Center for Liberty, where he challenged religious refusals to comply with anti-discrimination laws, and a William J. Brennan fellow with the Speech, Privacy & Technology Project. Brian is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk to the Hon. Marsha S. Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Jennifer Granick fights for civil liberties in an age of massive surveillance and powerful digital technology. As the new surveillance and cybersecurity counsel with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, she litigates, speaks, and writes about privacy, security, technology, and constitutional rights. Granick is the author of the book American Spies: Modern Surveillance, Why You Should Care, and What To Do About It, published by Cambridge Press and winner of the 2016 Palmer Civil Liberties Prize. Granick spent much of her career helping create Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. From 2001 to 2007, she was Executive Director of CIS and founded the Cyberlaw Clinic, where she supervised students in working on some of the most important cyberlaw cases that took place during her tenure. For example, she was the primary crafter of a 2006 exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which allows mobile telephone owners to legally circumvent the firmware locking their device to a single carrier. From 2012 to 2017, Granick was Civil Liberties Director specializing in and teaching surveillance law, cybersecurity, encryption policy, and the Fourth Amendment. In that capacity, she has published widely on U.S. government surveillance practices, and helped educate judges and congressional staffers on these issues. Granick also served as the Civil Liberties Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation from 2007-2010. Earlier in her career, Granick spent almost a decade practicing criminal defense law in California. Granick’s work is well-known in privacy and security circles. Her keynote, "Lifecycle of the Revolution" for the 2015 Black Hat USA security conference electrified and depressed the audience in equal measure. In March of 2016, she received Duo Security’s Women in Security Academic Award for her expertise in the field as well as her direction and guidance for young women in the security industry. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore) has called Granick an "NBA all-star of surveillance law.”
Brett Max Kaufman is a staff attorney in the ACLU's Center for Democracy, where he works on issues rleated to national security, privacy, surveillance, and technology. Mr. Kaufman is a graduate of Stanford University and the University of Texas School of Law, where he was book review editor of the Texas Law Review and a human rights scholar at the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. After graduation from law school, Mr. Kaufman spent one year in Israel, serving first as a foreign law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Asher Dan Grunis and then as a volunteer attorney at Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement. He next completed two clerkships in New York City — with the Hon. Robert D. Sack of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and with Judge Richard J. Holwell and (after Judge Holwell’s resignation) Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He spent two years at the national security fellow in the ACLU's National Security Project, and one year as a teaching fellow in New York University's Technology Law & Policy Clinic, where he continues to serve as an adjunct professor of law.
Jay Stanley (@JayCStanley) is senior policy analyst with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, where he researches, writes and speaks about technology-related privacy and civil liberties issues and their future. He is the editor of the ACLU’s Free Future blog and has authored and co-authored a variety of influential ACLU reports, policy papers and fact sheets on such topics as government and private-sector surveillance, police body cameras, drones, network neutrality, scientific freedom, and airline passenger security. Before joining the ACLU five weeks before 9/11, Jay was an analyst at the technology research firm Forrester, where he focused on internet policy issues. He is a graduate of Williams College and holds an M.A. in American History from the University of Virginia.
Nathan Freed Wessler (@NateWessler) is a staff attorney with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, where he focuses on litigation and advocacy around surveillance and privacy issues, including government searches of electronic devices, requests for sensitive data held by third parties, and use of surveillance technologies. In 2017, he argued Carpenter v. United States in the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to establish that the Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement to get a search warrant before requesting cell phone location data from a person’s cellular service provider.
Nate was previously a legal fellow in the ACLU's National Security Project, where he was involved in litigation seeking transparency and accountability for targeted killing and challenging unlawful detentions at the U.S. prisons in Bagram and Guantanamo. Prior to that, he served as a law clerk to the Hon. Helene N. White of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Nate is a graduate of Swarthmore College and New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern public interest scholar. Before law school, he worked as a field organizer in the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office.
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Emerson Sykes is a staff attorney with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project where he focuses on First Amendment free speech protections. Prior to joining the ACLU in 2018, he was a legal advisor for Africa at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL). Emerson previously served as assistant general counsel to the New York City Council, and in 2011, he was as senior policy fellow in the office of a member of Parliament in Ghana. Emerson holds a J.D. from the New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern scholar for public interest law, and a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. Before graduate school Emerson conducted research and wrote about U.S. foreign policy for The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank, and worked for the National Democratic Institute’s Central and West Africa Team. He earned his undergraduate degree in political science at Stanford.
Alexia Ramirez is a William J. Brennan Fellow with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. She is a graduate of Brown University and New York University School of Law. During law school, Alexia was a student clinician in NYU’s Technology Law and Policy Clinic, a student fellow in NYU’s Privacy Research Group, and an Executive Editor of the NYU Review of Law and Social Change. She also interned with the Knight First Amendment Institute, the Brennan Center for Justice's Liberty and National Security Project, and the Policing Project at NYU. After her fellowship, Alexia will serve as a law clerk to the Hon. Robert M. Levy of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Arianna Demas is a William J. Brennan Fellow with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. She is a graduate of Dickinson College and the University of Michigan Law School where she was an Executive Editor of the Michigan Law Review, co-president of the Reproductive Rights & Justice organization, and a teaching assistant for the first-year legal research and writing class. Arianna spent her summers working with the Knight First Amendment Institute and as a judicial intern for the Hon. Sandra L. Townes of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Prior to law school she worked as a legal assistant with the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. Following her fellowship, Arianna will serve as a law clerk to the Hon. Ronnie Abrams of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Adeline Lee is a paralegal with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. She is an alumna of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and a graduate of Wellesley College, where she served as student body president. Prior to the ACLU, Adeline helped establish the Campus Free Speech Program at PEN America, working with university officials, faculty, and campus activists to advance dialogue on speech and inclusion following major expression- and race-related controversies. She is a co-author of "Chasm in the Classroom: Campus Free Speech in a Divided America," a report analyzing over one hundred instances of Trump-era campus speech infringements and debates, and served in 2019 on education-technology company EVERFI's first National Advisory Board for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Fikayo Walter-Johnson is a paralegal with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. She gradauted with honors in both Public Policy and Sociology from the University of Chicago in 2020. Through internships and fellowships, she has worked on digital privacy issues with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, conducted public health research on juvenile detention, and as a research assistant on early African American film with the UChicago Department of Cinema and Media Studies. During college, she also served as chair of the UChicago Institute of Politics Leaders of Color Initiative and hosted a public affairs radio show which focused on how race, class, gender, and sexuality inform our relationships with media and technology.