The Clinic brings in a whole range of experts at the intersection of technology and public policy — practitioners, innovators, legislators — and provides law students with an avenue to contribute meaningfully to actual policy creation. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Professor Covington, and I consistently draw on some of the skills honed in the Clinic in my legal practice.
— Silas Alexander, J.D.

About the Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic

The Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic (Tech-Law Clinic) works at the intersection of public policy and technology. Students have the opportunity to write laws, compose policy papers, meet with stakeholders and provide legislative testimony. In the last few years, Tech-Law Clinicians wrote legislation establishing Washington state's Office of Privacy and Data Security, composed materials leading to the passage of Washington House Bill 1788 (which outlawed non-consensual pornography, also known as "revenge porn") and assisted in the successful passage of Washington House Bill 2970, establishing a working group which will assist the state in crafting policies governing the testing and use of autonomous vehicles. Locally, the Tech-Law Clinic assisted in updating and amending the City of Seattle’s Surveillance Ordinance. Students in the Tech-Law Clinic have written and shared policy papers on topics such as algorithmic discrimination; distributed energy; TOR exit nodes; three dimensional printers and police use of body cameras. Tech-Law clinicians learn about the policymaking process, work with a project team and select and address a current issue where high tech and public policy cross. The Tech-Law Clinic is a unique opportunity to learn about and influence the policymaking process.

Projects

2023–2024 student undertakings

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI). This is a rapidly advancing technology that has the potential to revolutionize various sectors of society. It is important to understand that AI can be regulated on a sector-by-sector basis to address its unique challenges and promote responsible use. Sectors we may explore include healthcare, finance, employment, education and/or the law.
  • Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs). We plan to continue collection and analysis of information on CAV policies from around the nation and the world. This project provides a comprehensive examination of CAV policy, focusing on nine essential issues. In addition, clinicians shall populate an outward-facing database with their findings.
  • Privacy Rights. These are fundamental human rights that protect individuals' personal information, autonomy, and dignity. The law plays a crucial role in safeguarding these rights by establishing legal frameworks and principles that govern the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information. State law and how such laws can be robust, dynamic, and enforced is to be explored.
  • Space Policy. States in the United States play an important role in space policy due to their aerospace industry presence, economic interests, hosting of launch sites, educational and research contributions, environmental concerns, and the pursuit of scientific and technological advancements. The project to be explored by the Tech-Law Clinic involves how states can support local economies, drive innovation, ensure environmental sustainability, and contribute to the broader goals of the nation's space program.

Tech-Law Clinic News

How a Secret Google Geofence Warrant Helped Catch the Capitol Riot Mob (Technology Law & Public Policy Clinic paper cited) (Sep 30, 2021 | Source: Wired)

“It does sound unusual, but it's worth noting that this whole circumstance is unusual,” says Tim O’Brien, a tech industry executive currently working on AI policy at Microsoft, who studied geofence warrants at the University of Washington School of Law. “If I were law enforcement, I would argue that the three-step process is unnecessary in this case, because the moment you set foot inside the Capitol, you became a suspect or witness.”
Clinics Updates: Students and faculty advise, inform, advocate amid COVID-19 Clinical Diagnosis Tech Policy at the UW School of Law: Interdisciplinary, Immersive and Innovative Tech-Law Clinic Students Help Design Autonomous Vehicle Policy