Olivier Sylvain is currently a Senior Policy Research Fellow at the Institute. He is a Professor of Law at Fordham University, and recently served as Senior Advisor to the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission from 2021 to 2023.
Sylvain teaches Legislation and Regulation, Administrative Law, Information Law, and U.S. Data Protection Law and Privacy at Fordham, where he has been the Director of the McGannon Center for Communications Research, the Academic Director of the Center for Law and Information Policy, and a research affiliate at the Center on Race, Law, and Justice. His recent writing and scholarship have focused on liability under the Communications Decency Act, the social impacts of artificial intelligence, and community-owned networked computing, among other things. His current projects include an essay on consumer consent that, in the wake of two high-profile binding decisions by the European Data Protection Board, raises substantial doubts about its efficacy in the context of prevalent online commercial surveillance practices. He is also working on a book that builds on his recent writing on artificial intelligence, commercial surveillance, intermediary liability, and “network equality.”
During his two-year term at the Institute, Sylvain will organize both closed and public-facing projects relating to privacy and digital public infrastructure, with the goal of proposing new policy proposals that would strengthen the digital public sphere. He also will help guide the Institute’s partnership with Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), which aims to train new policy professionals and generate innovative public policy ideas at the intersection of free speech and new technology.
Before entering academia, Olivier was a Karpatkin Fellow in the National Legal Office of the American Civil Liberties Union in New York City and a litigation associate at Jenner & Block, LLC, in Washington, D.C. Until September 2021, he was the Board President of the ACLU's New York affiliate and sat on the Academic Advisory Board for the Open Markets Institute and the Advisory Committee for the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative.