[Photo: Lydia smiles and tilts their head slightly to the side, looking confidently at the camera. They are a young-ish East Asian person with a streak of teal in their short black hair, wearing glasses, a cobalt blue jacket and navy tie, with a blue copper wall behind them. Photo by Sarah Tundermann.]
Lydia X. Z. Brown is a Policy Counsel with CDT’s Privacy and Data Project, focused on disability rights and algorithmic fairness and justice.
Lydia X. Z. Brown is a Policy Counsel with CDT’s Privacy and Data Project, focused on disability rights and algorithmic fairness and justice. Their work has investigated algorithmic harm and injustice in public benefits determinations, hiring algorithms, and algorithmic surveillance that disproportionately impact disabled people, particularly multiply-marginalized disabled people. Outside of their work at CDT, Lydia is an adjunct lecturer and core faculty in disability studies at Georgetown University, and the founding director of the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment. They serve on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Disability Rights, co-chair the ABA Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice’s Disability Rights Committee, serve as co-president of the Disability Rights Bar Association, and represent the Disability Justice Committee on the National Lawyers Guild’s board. Lydia is a founding board member of the Alliance for Citizen-Directed Supports, and serves on several advisory committees, including for the Law and Politics of Digital Mental Health Technology project at the University of Melbourne, the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University, and the Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy, and Innovation at Loyola Law School.
Before joining CDT, Lydia worked on disability rights and algorithmic fairness at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Tech Law and Policy. Prior to that, Lydia was Justice Catalyst Fellow at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, where they advocated for disabled students’ civil rights in schools, and an adjunct professor of disability policy and social movements at Tufts University. Lydia has spoken internationally and throughout the U.S. on a range of topics related to disability rights and disability justice, especially at the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality, and has published in numerous scholarly and community publications. Among others, they have received honors from the Obama White House, the Society for Disability Studies, the American Association of People with Disabilities, the National Disability Mentoring Coalition, and the Disability Policy Consortium. In 2015, Pacific Standard named Lydia to its list of Top 30 Thinkers in the Social Sciences Under 30, and Mic named Lydia to its inaugural list of 50 impactful leaders, cultural influencers, and breakthrough innovators for the next generation. In 2018, NBC named Lydia to its list of Asian Pacific American breakthrough leaders, and Amplifier featured them in the We The Future campaign honoring youth activism. Most recently, Gold House Foundation named Lydia to its A100 list of America’s most impactful Asians for 2020.
Lydia holds a bachelor’s degree in Arabic from Georgetown University, and a J.D. with joint concentrations in Criminal Law and Justice and in International Law and Human Rights from Northeastern University School of Law.