Georgetown Law Launches “Technology Impact Lab” for Spring 2024

December 14, 2023

The Institute for Technology Law and Policy at Georgetown Law is proud to announce the Technology Impact Lab, an exciting new initiative aimed at shaping the future of technology through interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. The lab, helmed by Georgetown Law Professor Paul Ohm and Georgetown Communication, Culture & Technology (CCT) Associate Professor Meg Leta Jones, is a unique merger of project-based research and seminar instruction that will level up the next generation of tech policy professionals.

The first official section of the course, cross-listed at Georgetown Law and the CCT graduate program, will meet on campus in the Spring semester of 2024.

Students in the Technology Impact Lab will investigate the facts underlying serious technology policy questions, deploying technical approaches such as analyzing computer network traffic for
privacy leaks. At the same time, they will learn key lessons from the history and practice of technology policy development through weekly lectures. This unique multifaceted pedagogical approach will empower students to gain leadership skills, cross-disciplinary collaboration experience, subject matter expertise, and a deep humanistic perspective on the intersection of technology and society.

In a defining feature of the course, students will partner with outside organizations that drive current policy discussions. Partners may include technology-focused non-profits, research institutions, or government agencies. These organizations will shape the types of projects students undertake and share their on-the-ground expertise with the class.

“We will select partners who help maximize what our students learn,” said Professor Ohm, “focusing in particular on people and organizations dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of individuals and advancing justice in the legal system.”

The course roster will be filled through a competitive application process. “The lab is not an ordinary course,” said Professor Jones. “It’s an interdisciplinary, inter-school, interdepartmental, and inter-campus endeavor. We want to bring the full diversity of Georgetown’s student population to bear on these momentous questions.”

Ohm is a faculty co-director of the Tech Institute; Jones is a faculty advisor. In addition to supporting faculty research initiatives and convening discussions on cutting-edge tech policy issues, the Tech Institute trains the next generation of lawyers and policymakers at the intersection of technology, law, and policy through an unmatched combination of up-to-the- minute curriculum, world-class faculty, and impactful experiential and career development opportunities. “The Tech Institute is extremely pleased to be supporting Professors Ohm and Jones in the launch of the groundbreaking Technology Impact Lab,” said Natalie Roisman, the Institute’s Executive Director. “The skills students gain in this course will guide them throughout their careers and propel them into meaningful policy leadership positions.”

The Technology Impact Lab is made possible by generous grants from the Ford Foundation and New America’s Public Interest Technology University Network. Thanks to their funding, the Institute has hired dedicated lab staff. Jon Brescia, a lawyer by training and a long-time tech tinkerer, will manage the Technology Impact Lab’s operations and advise students embarking on careers in law and technology. Before joining Georgetown Law, Jon worked as a case generation investigator for the law firm Edelson PC and led a self-regulatory enforcement team at BBB National Programs. In those roles, Jon spent a decade investigating companies’ privacy compliance, conducting static and dynamic analyses of software, mining network traffic for evidence, and building cases to make consumer-protective changes in companies’ policies and practices.

The launch of the Technology Impact Lab represents a significant step forward in addressing the challenges posed by the rapid evolution of technology. As society continues to grapple with the ethical, legal, and policy implications of new technologies, Georgetown University is at the forefront, shaping the path of technological progress towards a brighter, more thoughtful future.

For more information about the Technology Impact Lab, please visit the site’s webpage.

Media Contact:
Jon M. Brescia
Senior Institute Associate, Institute for Technology Law and Policy
Lab Manager, Technology Impact Lab
Georgetown Law