Staff Biography

Jim Dempsey

Vice President for Public Policy

Jim Dempsey

Vice President for Public Policy

Jim Dempsey is the Vice President for Public Policy and head of CDT West in San Francisco. He has been with CDT since 1997. As the former head of CDT’s Global Internet Policy Initiative (GIPI), he consulted with government officials and human rights organizations on Internet policy and civil liberties issues. From 2003 to 2005, he served as Executive Director. His work concentrates on Internet privacy, government surveillance, and national security issues.  He coordinates the Digital Due Process coalition, http://www.digitaldueprocess.org, a diverse group of companies, advocacy groups and think tanks working to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986.

Jim is the author or co-author of numerous articles in law reviews and other journals on privacy and Internet policy. He is co-author of the book Terrorism & the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security (New Press, Third edition, 2006) (with Prof. David Cole of Georgetown).  He is widely quoted in the media and has testified numerous times before Congressional committees. Ars Technica and Tech Policy Central identified Jim as one of the top names in tech policy for 2009.

Jim began his career as an associate with the Washington, D.C. law firm of Arnold & Porter. From 1985 to 1995, he was assistant counsel to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. He worked on issues at the intersection of national security and constitutional rights, including terrorism, counter-intelligence, oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and electronic surveillance laws, as well as criminal justice issues. Prior to joining CDT, Jim was Deputy Director of the non-profit Center for National Security Studies and special counsel to the National Security Archive, a non-governmental organization that uses the Freedom of Information Act to gain the declassification of documents on U.S. foreign policy.

Jim is a graduate of Yale College (BA 1975) and Harvard Law School (JD 1979).  He is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia.