The Knight First Amendment Institute defends the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education. We aim to promote a system of free expression that is open and inclusive, that broadens and elevates public discourse, and that fosters creativity, accountability, and effective self-government.
Established in 2016, the Institute has an active litigation docket that includes cutting-edge cases relating to government transparency, surveillance, and social media. Through its research program, the Institute has published a series of influential essays focused on emerging threats to the system of free expression. It has also hosted public events on new technology and public discourse, the First Amendment and inequality, and whistleblowers and national-security journalism. Over the next several years, the Institute will tackle a wide range of issues including net neutrality, the free-speech implications of private surveillance, the free-press implications of technology companies’ terms of service, intermediary liability, the right of journalists to protect their sources, the right of citizens to record and broadcast police activity, encryption, and machine speech.
The Staff Technologist
Reporting to the Institute’s Research Director, the Staff Technologist will advise the Institute’s staff on the First Amendment implications of new technology, and work with the Institute’s staff in developing litigation and research projects concerning the First Amendment implications of new technology. The Technologist will also work with the Research Director, the Executive Director, and other Institute staff to develop a broader vision for integrating technologists into the Institute’s work, seeking input from and collaborating with other components of the university, including the Data Science Institute.
- Advise the Institute’s staff on the implications of new technology for the freedoms of speech and the press;
- Collaborate with the Institute’s staff to develop litigation and research projects concerning the implications of new technology for the freedoms of speech and the press;
- Educate the public about the implications of new technology for the freedoms of speech and the press, through essays, blog posts, social media, and white papers;
- Work with the Institute’s staff and technologists at Columbia (including at the Data Science Institute and in the Computer Science Department) to develop a broader vision for integrating technologists into the Institute’s work;
- Serve as a spokesperson for the Institute in the media regarding new technology and the freedoms of speech and the press;
- Stay abreast of and analyze new technology and technological developments that may implicate the freedoms of speech and the press;
- Represent the Institute at technical conferences, consortia, and meetings;
- Build and maintain the Institute’s relationships with the technology and technology advocacy communities;
- Connect the Institute’s staff with outside experts when necessary;
- Supervise other technologists as required.
This is a two-year position, with the possibility of an extension.
- A B.S., Bachelor of Engineering, or comparable degree in computer science or other technical field.
- Four years of experience and significant expertise in internet architecture, network protocols, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, system administrations, and/or cryptography, or in a related area, and broad understanding of existing and emerging digital technologies.
- Strong written and verbal communications skills, with a demonstrated ability to communicate complex technical issues to a general audience.
- Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to collaborate effectively with people of diverse professional and personal backgrounds.
- Demonstrated project-management skills
- Knowledge of and demonstrated participation in contemporary debates relating to freedom of expression and digital technologies.
- Master’s or Doctoral degree in computer science or other relevant field.
- A track record of publications in policy or academic outlets.
- Public-speaking experience, and experience communicating technologies and technology-related issues to and through the press.
- Experience working with media, policy, or legal organizations.
- Experience in program development, and an ability to assist Research Director in developing a vision and plan for incorporating technologists into the Institute’s work at all levels
Candidates must apply through Columbia University's Recruitment of Academic Personnel System (RAPS) portal at https://pa334.peopleadmin.com/postings/2724
- Cover letter explaining your interest in the position, including a description of any relevant life or work experience
- Three references
- Two writing samples, including at least one intended for a general audience
Additional information may be requested during the application process.