Thursday, December 08, 2016

Learning how policy is made in the legislative branch

During my seven years in Washington D.C., I’ve worked for the nation’s premier privacy regulator—the Federal Trade Commission—and for one of the top civil liberties organizations in the United Statesthe American Civil Liberties Union. These have both been great experiences, but I now want to learn first-hand how policy is made in the legislative branch.

After more than four years at the ACLU, I’ll be leaving the organization on January 6, 2017 to join the new class of TechCongress Congressional Innovation Fellows.  

TechCongress is a nonpartisan program incubated New America’s Open Technology Institute that’s dedicated to building 21st century government and developing cross-sector technology leaders.  The Congressional Innovation Fellowship was launched in 2015 and places technologists to serve in Congress through a one-year residency on Capitol Hill to gain in-depth understanding of the legislative process.  This year’s class includes four fellows with experience across the tech sector.  

The specifics of my placement (that is, which Congressional office or Committee I’ll work for) won’t be settled until January.

This fellowship will mean that my life will change in many ways. I’m going to be putting my Twitter account on hold for the duration of my fellowship. Likewise, I won’t I give any public talks or speak to journalists (on or off the record) during that time. Starting in January, I’m going to keep my head down, focus on the job, and try to make the most of this fantastic opportunity. I’ll also be wearing a suit far more often.

I’ve loved my time at the ACLU, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the most skilled civil liberties lawyers in the country, on some of the most interesting and exciting technology and surveillance related issues of our time. My team will be hiring someone soon to replace me, so if you have a background in technology, an interest in civil liberties, and an ability to explain things and communicate with empathy to lawyers, journalists and policymakers, please apply once the job is posted.

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