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Clark Lecture: How Technology Will Dictate Our Civic Future

Data-driven algorithms and technology designers are the new policymakers. No one elected them, and most people do not know their names, but the decisions they make dictate the code by which we conduct our daily lives and govern our country. Challenges to the privacy and security of our personal data were part of the first wave of this change; as technology progresses, every demographic value and every law has come up for grabs and will likely be redefined by what technology does or does not enable. How will it all fit together or fall apart? This talk surveys unforeseen consequences and brainstorms on a way forward with new innovative technologies designed in the public interest. Examples include contact tracing and the election.

Latanya Sweeney (she/her) is the Professor of the Practice of Government and Technology at the Harvard Kennedy School and in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Editor-in-Chief of Technology Science, founder and director of both the Public Interest Tech Lab and of the Data Privacy Lab, former Chief Technology Officer at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science, Technology and Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, Latanya Sweeney has 3 patents, more than 100 academic publications, and her work is explicitly cited in two U.S. regulations, including the U.S. federal medical privacy regulation (known as HIPAA). She is a recipient of the prestigious Louis D. Brandeis Privacy Award, the American Psychiatric Association’s Privacy Advocacy Award, an elected fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics, and has testified before government bodies worldwide. She earned her PhD in computer science from MIT in 2001; the first Black woman to do so.

Zoom Link:  Meeting ID: 915 6535 3042 Passcode: 441912

For additional information please contact Prof. Michael Spezio,


April 29


1:00 pm - 2:15 pm