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Policy Counsel, Security and Surveillance Project

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) is seeking a full-time policy counsel to work on issues at the intersection of civil liberties, national security, surveillance, and technology.

This position offers an exciting opportunity to address challenging issues related to government surveillance, civil liberties, civil rights, and human rights in the United States and around the world, including electronic surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and Executive Order 12333, as well as facial recognition technology, social media monitoring, and other law enforcement and national security-related uses of technology. 

Issue areas include: developing guardrails to govern the use of artificial intelligence in the national security and law enforcement realms; addressing global misuse of spyware; preserving encryption; advancing pro-privacy cybersecurity policy; resisting discriminatory surveillance of marginalized communities based on immigration status, race, religion or political views; and challenging warrantless searches of cell phones at the border.

The position is based five blocks from the White House, in CDT’s Washington, DC office. CDT offers substantial autonomy as well as the opportunity to work collaboratively across a wide variety of technology policy issues. 

This position reports to the Director and Deputy Director of CDT’s Security and Surveillance Project.


  • Conducting in-depth legal, policy, and legislative research and analysis and developing practical policy recommendations that advance civil liberties, civil rights, and human rights;
  • Providing policy and technical assistance to Congress and governmental agencies;
  • Writing in a variety of formats, including blog posts, testimony, agency comments, amicus briefs, press releases, white papers, and legislative analyses;
  • Background research to support the development of CDT’s policy positions and collaboration with other staff on the production of research-based reports and articles;
  • Engaging directly with technology companies and with other companies to develop best practices and policy recommendations for engaging with law enforcement and national security uses of technology;
  • Engaging with public interest groups, technology companies, academics, and other stakeholders to promote dialogue and consensus building; 
  • Representing CDT in coalitions and multistakeholder bodies and, where appropriate, assuming a leadership role; 
  • Coordinating across CDT teams and with CDT’s Europe Office; and
  • Public speaking and media interviews.


This position is designed for a lawyer or experienced policy advocate who is comfortable with reading and analyzing laws and legal documents and who can demonstrate knowledge about the impact of surveillance on civil liberties, civil rights, and human rights.

Required Qualifications

  • A law degree (strongly preferred), or an advanced public policy degree;
  • A minimum of one year of relevant full-time work experience;
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills and demonstrated analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • Flexibility and the ability to respond to fast-breaking news and events;
  • Commitment to CDT’s mission to advance civil liberties, civil rights, and human rights in the digital age; and
  • An energetic, entrepreneurial, friendly and collaborative working style.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Expertise in at least one of the following areas: national security, U.S. Fourth Amendment law, E.U. or U.S. surveillance law, or international human rights law;
  • A demonstrated commitment to equity issues relating to surveillance; 
  • Capitol Hill experience or experience with advocacy before Congress, federal agencies, state and local governments, European institutions, or US or European court systems;
  • Existing relationships with key stakeholders including policymakers, the press, advocates, and tech companies;
  • Experience in working with and leading diverse coalitions that may include civil society, corporations, academics, and other stakeholders;
  • Experience analyzing or drafting legislation; and
  • Familiarity with tech policy issues and technical concepts related to the Internet and electronic surveillance.

Compensation, Title and Location:

The compensation for this position ranges from $65K-$90K. Compensation is determined on a tiered pay scale based on years of experience and the responsibilities of the role. Candidates may request guidance on where they would fall within the salary range at any point in the application process.

This position is based in CDT’s Washington, D.C. office, which operates on a hybrid schedule with three days in office per week. A different hybrid schedule or fully remote work may be considered in exceptional cases and is available if needed as a disability accommodation.


Applications will be considered on a rolling basis starting on May 13, 2024. Application materials should be sent to [email protected]. Please submit:

  • A cover letter explaining your interest in applying for this role, the skills and experiences you would bring, and why those skills and experiences would allow you to be successful in this position;
  • A current resume; and
  • A writing sample that is a maximum of five pages single-spaced or equivalent. Writing samples on a relevant subject matter and/or demonstrating written policy analysis or advocacy are strongly preferred.

Please send your resume, cover letter, and writing sample to [email protected].

The Center for Democracy & Technology is an equal opportunity and inclusive employer. CDT does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation in any of its activities or operations. We believe that a diverse staff enables us to do better and more impactful work. Women, people of color, disabled people, and members of low-income, LGBTQIA+, and other marginalized communities are strongly encouraged to apply.