Data Hemorrhage, Inequality, and You: How Technology and Data Flows are Changing the Civil Liberties Game

Shankar Narayan, Technology and Liberty Project Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Washington

Abstract: 

Rapidly growing data flows and game-changing advances in aggregation, analytics, and machine learning are changing the game for all of our civil liberties. The public discourse around data often tends to focus on information security, but rarely is inequality at the core of the discussion. Yet we are in a new space where discretion and control over our basic civil liberties is being transferred to private entities from traditional government actors, making it more difficult to recognize threats to our civil liberties, much less respond to them. Our ability to use traditional statutory and constitutional protections is also rendered more challenging by the “tech-washing” of decisions through unaccountable algorithms. The result may be a world in which technology reinforces existing biases everywhere from education to criminal justice, creating a de facto two tier society. This talk will walk through the above dynamics using real-world examples such as police body cameras, advanced metering infrastructure, and other surveillance tools. It will also point to ways to create transparency and accountability around data flows.

Shankar Narayan, Technology and Liberty Project Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Washington

Shankar Narayan is Technology and Liberty Project Director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, one of the nation's strongest ACLU affiliates. Shankar works to protect constitutional rights in a legal and policy landscape that is fundamentally shifting because of game-changing advancements in technology.

For the previous 8 years, Shankar was Legislative Director at the ACLU of Washington. The achievements his program include, among others, legislation to achieve marriage equality for same-sex couples, restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals, enforce non-discrimination laws in schools, end racially discriminatory practices, improve police accountability, tackle gang violence through prevention and intervention services, protect privacy, and ban the shackling of pregnant inmates.

Shankar was previously Policy Director at OneAmerica, a Seattle-based immigrant rights organization. Shankar's role at OneAmerica placed him on the frontlines of the immigrant rights struggle. Prior to that, Shankar built a practice in technology and intellectual property law at Preston Gates and Ellis (now K&L Gates).

Shankar was the first chair of the City of Seattle's Immigrant and Refugee Advisory Board, and formerly co-chaired the steering committee of the Detention Watch Network. Shankar is past president of the South Asian Bar Association of Washington, a former board member of the Asian Bar Association of Washington, and co-chaired the Ethnic Diversity in the Legal Profession Committee of the King County Bar Association. Shankar was named King County Bar Association’s Outstanding Young Lawyer for 2010.

Shankar was born in the former Soviet Union, grew up in the U.S., the Maldives, India, the former Yugoslavia, Thailand, and Russia. He enjoys the outdoors, travel, motorcycling, and Anatolian shepherds. A poet, he is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a recipient of fellowships and prizes from Kundiman, Richard Hugo House, Flyway, and 4Culture.

BibTeX
@conference {203948,
author = {Shankar Narayan},
title = {Data Hemorrhage, Inequality, and You: How Technology and Data Flows are Changing the Civil Liberties Game},
year = {2017},
address = {Vancouver, BC},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = aug,
}

Presentation Video