We’re chatting with Chris Calabrese — Interim Co-CEO and Vice President, Policy –– and figured our readers might be interested to hear about his earliest work delving into issues like digital privacy and discrimination, as well as his favorite part of CDT’s policy work.
How long have you been working in digital rights? Basically my entire career. My first job as a young lawyer was working for a Massachusetts state senator who had long chaired the state’s science and technology committee. I jumped right off the deep end into issues like genetic discrimination. Then, in my time at the ACLU, I focused on all things privacy — state campaigns on national ID cards, mobile app transparency, ECPA reform — it pretty much ran the gamut.
What is your favorite policy area here at CDT? Well, I oversee all our policy work, so that’s sort of unfair, like asking me to pick between my children. I really do love the ability I have to look at the entire tech landscape — how privacy legislation might impact free expression. Or how internet standards and protocols can shape human rights. Right now one of the most difficult areas we’re grappling with is the problems that come from the sheer scale of the internet. Billions of videos and posts are shared every day — before we can shape digital policies, we need to find a way to more fully understand this immense online reality.
I really do love the ability I have to look at the entire tech landscape — how privacy legislation might impact free expression. Or how internet standards and protocols can shape human rights.
What is the best book you’ve read recently? I just finished an excellent novel by Leigh Bardugo called Ninth House. It’s a mashup of the Sixth Sense, Harry Potter, and detective fiction. The protagonist is a young woman who can see ghosts (spoiler — that turns out to be horrible) and ends up working with the secret magical societies that actually run Yale University. Great fun!
Dogs or cats? Well, I have a lovely mutt named Holly. I’m sure she’d be sad if I picked anything but dogs.