The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Massachusetts has announced the launch of the Technology for Liberty & Justice for All initiative, an effort to ensure the law keeps pace with rapidly changing technologies and model new ways for technology to help safeguard equal justice for all.
Backed by a lead investment of $1 million and an additional $1 million matching challenge grant from Vertex Pharmaceuticals founder Joshua Boger and Akamai Technologies vice chairman Paul Sagan, the initiative will work to engage the business and technology communities in developing systems, policies, and programs that protect and promote liberty and democracy.
The initiative will unfold in two stages: a Technology for Liberty Project that will focus on ensuring government transparency and effective warrant requirements for location tracking, surveillance, data mining, and eavesdropping, as well as on limiting the deployment of military weapons and surveillance technology by local police departments; and a Justice for All Project that will address racial justice issues, including closing down the so-called school-to-prison pipeline and protecting the human rights of immigrants. Taking an "integrated advocacy" approach, the initiative will combine litigation, public education, online and traditional media, and field mobilization to build a broad constituency for privacy and equal justice around issues of privacy, liberty, and equality.
"Businesses and society in general need ground rules to make it clear that opportunity is open for all and that the power of the majority can never be used to cut some of us out of the herd," said Sagan. "The beauty of the Bill of Rights is its protection for all of us — all 100 percent of us — but we must work to ensure that this safeguard remains in place in the face of rapid developments in science and technology that give government and businesses unprecedented new capabilities."