November 15, 2017 - Institute Hosts PACKED Capitol Hill Event on the Sinclair-Tribune Merger and the Future of Media Ownership

On Wednesday November 15, the Tech Institute’s Distinguished Fellow Gigi Sohn moderated a panel on the proposed merger of Sinclair Broadcasting Group and Tribune Media and a broader discussion of media ownership rules in the age of the internet. The panel came one day before the FCC voted on a controversial proposal to amend media ownership rules.

The event featured representatives from both Sinclair and Tribune, alongside Georgetown Adjunct Professor David Goodfriend, the Georgetown IPR Communications & Technology Clinic's Andy Schwartzman, Carmen Scurato of the National Hispanic Media Competition and Jim Winston, President of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.) also provided remarks.

The event was broadcast on C-SPAN; a recording is available here.

You can view the Twitter conversation about the event at #SinclairTribTalk.

Thank you to our panelists!

Debators:

Jerald Fritz, Executive Vice President for Strategic & Legal Affairs, ONE Media. 

David Goodfriend, The Goodfriend Group

Panel:

Moderator: Gigi Sohn, Distinguished Fellow, Institute for Technology Law & Policy at Georgetown Law

Rebecca Hanson, Senior Vice President / Strategy and Policy, Sinclair Broadcast Group

Eddie Lazarus, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Tribune Corporation

Andy Schwartzman, Benton Senior Counselor, Georgetown Institute for Public Representation Technology and Communications Practice Group

Carmen Scurato, Director for Policy and Legal Affairs, National Hispanic Media Coalition

Jim Winston, President, National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters

Learn more and RSVP here: www.georgetowntech.org/rsvp.

November 3, 2017 - Institute Hosts 9th Annual Georgetown-Berkeley Conference on the Role of the Courts in Patent Law & Policy

On Friday November 3rd, the Institute hosted the Ninth Annual Georgetown Law-Berkeley Law conference on the Role of the Courts in Patent Law & Policy.

The day began with a keynote addresses from Federal Circuit Judge Raymond Chen, who was confirmed to the bench in August 2013 after serving as Solicitor of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. 

A panel on "Recent Developments in Case Management" brought together  Judge Rodney Gilstrap (E.D. Tex.) and Chief Judge Leonard Stark (D.Del.) -- the two judges with the heaviest patent caseload in the country -- with Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte (N.D. Cal.), White & Case's Shamita Etienne Cummings and Berkeley Law's Peter Menell for an in-depth discussion of venue following the Supreme Court's landmark decision in TC Heartland and other case management issues.

The day continued with a panel covering recent developments at the Patent Trials and Appeals Board (PTAB), featuring the PTAB's own Chief Judge David Ruschke (Georgetown Law '97) and other experts. Hot topics included parallel litigation, amendments at the PTAB following the Federal Circuit's decision in Aqua Products, and -- of course -- the Supreme Court's upcoming reviewing of the constitutionality of PTAB proceedings in Oil States Energy Services v. Greene's Energy Group.

In a lunchtime keynote address, the Interim Director of the U.S. PTO Joe Matal shared his views on potential areas for legislative activity in patent policy, drawing on his own experiences as a key staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee during the drafting of the America Invents Act. 

His address was followed by a flashtalk on patent litigation trends presented by data analytics expert Emily Hostage of RPX Corporation. The day's third panel featured leading practitioners Morgan Chu, Matt Powers, Celine Crowson, and Ken Korea and Professor Bernard Chao analyzing remedies and damages law. The day concluded with a discussion of the significant patent decisions issued by the Supreme Court and Federal Circuit in the past twelve months, featuring Georgetown's Jay Thomas, Professors Margo Bagley, Jay Sherkow, and Elizabeth Winston, and retired judge Rod McKelvie (D. Del.).

A video of the event is available here

You can view the full program here. To receive notifications of future conferences, please join our mailing list here. Many thanks to all who came!


October 25, 2017 - Supreme Court Experts Speak on Oil States Case at Event with Giles S. Rich Inn of Court

On Wednesday October 25, the Institute welcomed celebrated Supreme Court litigators Jeffrey Lamken, Deanna Maynard and Irv Gornstein and patent experts Jay Thomas, John Thorne and Rakesh Kilaru for a panel on the most-watched patent case of the year, Oil States Energy Services v. Greene's Energy Group LLC. The case, scheduled for Supreme Court argument in November, challenges the constitutionality of the inter partes review process created by the America Invents Act of 2011.

The event was a special session of the Giles S. Rich Inn of Court, a professional organization focused on fostering professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills in the area of intellectual property. It provided a wonderful opportunity for students to engage with leaders in the field and practitioners of all professional levels during a lively and important debate. You can learn more about the Giles S. Rich Inn of Court here.

Supreme Court and patent law experts speak at the GSR Inn of Court's panel on Oil States Energy Services v. Greene's Energy Group.

Supreme Court and patent law experts speak at the GSR Inn of Court's panel on Oil States Energy Services v. Greene's Energy Group.

October 18, 2017 - Public Interest Leaders Speak at Workshop on Tech Careers in the Public Interest

On Wednesday October 18, the Institute welcomed an all-star panel of experts for a student workshop on tech careers in public interest technology law. Practitioners from groups as diverse as Public Knowledge and the Electronic Privacy Information Center to Consumer Reports and Upturn shared tips on building experience in law school, finding an issue you're passionate about, and navigating a career that moves between non-profits, government service, and the private sector.

Following the presentation, speakers offered students one-on-one advice on their resumes and career plans. The groups participating included: Public Knowledge, Upturn, the Future of Privacy Forum, the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute, the Center for Democracy & Technology, ACLU, Free Press, Consumer Reports, the Electronic Privacy Information Center as well as the Georgetown Tech Institute, Georgetown Center on Privacy & Technology, and Communications & Technology Clinic.

The Privacy Center's Deputy Director Laura Moy prepared a great handout for the event listing 2018 internships in tech-policy focused public interest roles. For a copy of the list, email TechInstitute@law.georgetown.edu.

 

Panelists speak at a workshop on Tech Careers in the Public Interest

Panelists speak at a workshop on Tech Careers in the Public Interest


October 6, 2017 - Georgetown’s IPR Communications & Technology Clinic Helps Prompt Congressional Inquiry into “Aristotle” Smart Baby Monitor

Georgetown’s IPR Communications & Technology Clinic had a significant accomplishment last week, when Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Joe Barton (TX-06) sent an oversight letter to toy company Mattel raising privacy concerns about its “Aristotle” smart baby monitor, which was scheduled to hit stores in 2018. Subsequent to receiving the letter, Mattel announced that it will no longer be taking the Aristotle device to market.

“Aristotle” is a Wi-Fi enabled talking device with audio and visual monitoring that was marketed for use in a child’s bedroom from birth until adolescence. Mattel publicized this AI-driven connected home platform as being designed to “comfort, entertain, teach and assist during each development stage,” by, for example, tracking sleep and feeding patterns when the child is an infant and answering user questions as the child grows older.

On behalf of IPR Clinic clients Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Center for Digital Democracy, clinic student Jack O’Gorman (L’17) conducted initial research into the Aristotle device and potential privacy concerns, sharing that information with the Congressmen’s offices. His research analyzed the device’s functionality and reviewed Mattel’s privacy policies regarding the collection and use of information, identifying a number of areas where information was unavailable about the device or its functionality.

In the letter, the Congressmen raised privacy concerns and posed a series of questions to Mattel about the device. Among other requests, the Congressmen sought information as to how the toy company would obtain parental consent, how information would be collected, stored and safeguarded, the technologies the device would utilize for monitoring, and how the device would comply with existing laws. A coalition of non-profit groups organized by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Story of Stuff Project also organized a petition urging Mattel not to release the product.

This week, Mattel announced that it will not move forward with its plans to release the device for sale. In a statement reported in The Washington Post, Mattel said the product did not “fully align with Mattel’s new technology strategy.” The move was welcomed by Georgetown’s IPR clinic and other privacy advocates. “We commend Mattel for putting children’s wellbeing first and listening to the concerns of child development experts and thousands of parents who urged them not to release this device,” said Josh Golin, executive director for the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. “This is a tremendous victory for everyone who believes children still have a right to privacy and that robots can never replace loving humans as caregivers.”

Georgetown’s IPR Communications & Technology Clinic is a full-time clinic in which Georgetown Law students represent non-profit organizational clients to ensure that communications technologies are used in ways that serve the interests of the public. You can learn more about the clinic here.

 

Photo courtesy Flickr user DaveSans

Photo courtesy Flickr user DaveSans

September 29, 2017 - Institute Fellow Gigi Sohn Honored at Public Knowledge's 2017 IP3 Awards

The Tech Institute's Distinguished Fellow Gigi Sohn was honored last night at Public Knowledge's annual IP3 Awards for her significant contributions in internet policy. Gigi was honored alongside Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass) and The Honorable Michelle Lee, who served as Head of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office from 2013-2017. 

Gigi has worked for nearly 30 years as a public interest advocate, promoting competition and innovation policies to make broadband internet access more ubiquitous, competitive, affordable, open and protective of user privacy. She most recently served as Counselor the former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler, whom she advised on a range of issues relating to the internet, telecommunications and media.

At the FCC, Gigi was described as "the conscience of the Chairman's office" for her work on behalf of American consumers and competition. She continues that work now, as one of the leading voices in the current policy debate over the FCC's proposed rulemaking to roll back net neutrality protections. She recently hosted a discussion on "The Battle to Save Net Neutrality" with Mr. Wheeler, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Cal.), television producers, telecommunications experts and the Executive Director of the Center for Media Justice. You can view the video here.

Gigi's work at the Tech Institute is supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation, which has long worked to promote equal access to and fair regulation of the Internet to ensure transparency, privacy, access to knowledge, and free expression for all people. Gigi is also a fellow of the Open Society Foundations and a Mozilla Fellow.

Public Knowledge is a non-profit public interest group that promotes freedom of expression, an open internet, and access to affordable communications tools and creative works. This was the Fourteenth Annual IP3 Awards Ceremony. You can learn more about the organization here.

We're tremendously proud to have Gigi as part of the Georgetown Law community. Congratulations on the award!

 

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September 29, 2017 - Friday Tech Speaker Series hosts Former NHTSA Administrators for discussion on Self-Driving Cars

Our regular Tech Speaker Series kicked off Friday with a discussion on self-driving cars featuring two leading experts in the field: Joan Claybrook, former Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) (1977-1981) and President of Public Citizen (1982-2008), and David Strickland, former Administrator of NHTSA (2010-2013) and now counsel to the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets.

In a dynamic debate, the speakers discussed the Trump Administration's recent revision of NHTSA's guidance for the self-driving vehicle industry, and legislation currently pending before Congress that would significantly increase the number of test vehicles permitted on the road.

The conversation ranged from the size and scope of the exemption for test vehicles, to considerations of privacy, ethical questions, and security, to NHTSA's capacity for regulating the fast developments in this industry, and the appropriateness of preempting states from regulating in this space.

The meeting was the first in a series of regular events hosted by the Tech Institute on campus. If you want to learn about future speakers in this series and other Tech Institute events, join our mailing list here.

Institute Director Alex Givens (L) moderates a discussion with The Hon. David Strickland (C) and The Hon. Joan Claybrook (R), two former Administrators of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Institute Director Alex Givens (L) moderates a discussion with The Hon. David Strickland (C) and The Hon. Joan Claybrook (R), two former Administrators of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


September 8, 2017 - Prof. Julie Cohen Briefs Congressional Staff on Section 230

Tech Institute Faculty Director Julie Cohen spoke to Capitol Hill staff on Friday as part of a panel on the future of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a longstanding provision that limits the liability of internet providers for content posted by their users.  

The panel, "Carving Out Exceptions to Section 230: How Will It Affect the Internet?", comes at a time when Congress is considering new legislation to address online trafficking. The event was organized by the Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus, an organization comprised of public interest groups, trade associations, non-profits, and corporations that convenes though leaders to help educate Congressional staff. 

A recording of the event is available here

Professor Julie Cohen briefs Congressional staff on CDA Section 230

Professor Julie Cohen briefs Congressional staff on CDA Section 230


September 7, 2017 - Communications & Technology Clinic Announces New Job Opening for STAFF ATTORNEY / Clinical Teaching Fellow

Georgetown's IPR Communications and Technology Clinic is now accepting applications for a two-year position as a clinical teaching fellow/staff attorney starting in August 2018.  The Fellow will represent non-profit organizations in high profile, cutting-edge cases before the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and federal appellate courts.  The Fellow will receive an LL.M. degree in Advocacy at the conclusion of the Fellowship.  

You can read more about the great work of the Clinic here - and the full job posting is here. Applications will be accepted and considered on a rolling basis through December 15, 2017.  

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September 5, 2017 - Georgetown Welcomes First Class of Tech Law & Policy Scholars; Visit Federal Circuit

This semester, the Law School welcomes its first class of Technology Law & Policy Scholars - a group of 1L students who were competitively selected to focus on technology law and policy during their time at Georgetown Law.

Our inaugural class of sixteen students have diverse backgrounds and areas of interest, from privacy, to cybersecurity, intellectual property, and telecommunications law. Half of the class bring advanced degrees and prior careers in technology-related fields; others come with a deep interest in the intersection of technology and social justice. 

The Tech Law Scholars' 1L Seminar introduces them to key participants in the technology policy ecosystem. On Friday September 9, the Scholars watched oral arguments at the Federal Circuit and met for a private discussion with Senior Judge Richard Linn and his clerk. Other classes will take students to Congress, the Copyright Office, the FCC, FTC and U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, as well as non-profit organizations and companies that advocate on tech policy issues.

You can learn more about the Tech Law & Policy Scholars Program here. Applications will open in Spring 2018 for students who have been admitted to the Georgetown Law Class of 2021. 

The ceremonial courtroom of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, where Tech Law Scholars met with Judge Richard Linn (L'69) this month. 

The ceremonial courtroom of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, where Tech Law Scholars met with Judge Richard Linn (L'69) this month. 


August 15 & 16, 2017 - Tech Institute Hosts Two-Day Technology Program For Congressional Staff

This week, Congressional staffers from the House and Senate came to Georgetown Law for Tech Foundations for Congressional Staff, an immersive two-day program for Congressional staff to learn about new and emerging technologies.

Over two days, staffers attended sessions on subjects such as The Structure of the Internet, the Technology of Privacy, the Future of Machine Learning and AI, and Blockchain Technology. Alexandra Givens, Executive Director of the Tech Institute, framed the program as a way for staffers to "step back from immediate legislative debates and learn about how key technologies actually work -- laying a foundation for informed policy-making." 

The program featured an array of subject matter experts, from Georgetown Law's own Paul Ohm, to former FCC Chief Technology Officer and current CMU professor Doug Sicker, to Carolyn Nguyen, director of technology policy at Microsoft, and Ellen Hwang, leader of Philadelphia's Smart Cities initiative. The event drew staffers from the House and Senate judiciary committees, commerce committees, government affairs and oversight committees, finance committees, leadership offices, and the Congressional Research Service.

Institute Director Alexandra Givens (r) interviews Vint Cerf

Institute Director Alexandra Givens (r) interviews Vint Cerf

A cocktail reception on the first night featured tech demos from a number of local and D.C.-based companies. Microsoft demoed its Translate.it realtime speech translation tool and Seeing AI, artificial intelligence that identifies objects, describes people, and reads text when an individual holds up the camera on their smartphone. D.C.-based company Quorum profiled its legislative strategy platform that analyzes Congressional information, and the owner of Open Data Nation was on hand to answer questions about how her company advises clients to leverage open data tools. Guests also had the opportunity to try several virtual reality headsets: Facebook's Oculus, Playstation VR, HDC Vibe and the Microsoft HoloLens.

The two-day program closed with a fireside chat with the celebrated technologist Vint Cerf, widely known as one of the founding fathers of the internet. Dr. Cerf spoke about the risk of a "digital dark age" as new software developments make older computer files unreadable -- an immediate problem facing federal agencies, courts, Congress, and the public at large. He also spoke about opportunities to spread innovation to areas around the United States, stressing the importance of investing in infrastructure and accessible, affordable internet service. Dr. Cerf stayed long after the reception ended to answer individual questions.

Tech Foundations was generously supported by BSA|The Software Alliance, Software.org, the Information Technology Industry Council and CompTIA.

The full program and list of speakers for Tech Foundations is here. 

The Tech Institute intends to hold Tech Foundations again in future. To suggest topics or join the mailing list for future programs, contact us as TechInstitute@law.georgetown.edu.  


August 12, 2017 - Tech Institute Hosts Digital Security Training for Advocates with ACLU-DC & DC Legal Hackers

On August 12, more than 70 lawyers and advocates assembled at Georgetown Law for a training titled, "Protecting Yourself and Your Clients: Data Security Information You Need to Know."  

The event, co-hosted by the Tech Institute, ACLU-DC, and the civic tech organization DC Legal Hackers, featured short presentations on ways for lawyers and individuals to protect their digital information. Topics included password security, secure hosting and transfer of files, protecting your devices, and secure messaging by voice, video and text.

Speakers included Shauna Dillavou, principal at Security Positive; Eric Mill, a privacy and security expert who previously worked at the Sunlight Foundation; Matt Mitchell, founder of CryptoHarlem and a recent Mozilla Ford Open Web Fellow at Color of Change; and Alexandra Ulsh, information security engineer at Mapbox.

Following the talks, audience members participated in hands-on workshops staffed by volunteers from DC Legal Hackers, who helped guests implement the recommended security and privacy steps on their devices. 

Curious about protecting your own devices or hosting your own digital security training? Contact TechInstitute@law.georgetown.edu for copies of our training materials, or start with this cluster of helpful materials here.  Thanks to our volunteers & trainers for a great and meaningful event.

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July 30, 2017 - Prof. Angela Campbell Publishes New Article on Video Games at the Supreme Court

Georgetown Law's Angela Campbell, a Faculty Director of the Tech Institute and head of Georgetown's IPR Clinic for Communications & Technology, published a new article this month on the Supreme Court's 2012 ruling in the video game case Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Ass'n.  

The article writes:

"In the five years since the Supreme Court found unconstitutional a California statute prohibiting the sale of ultra-violent video games to minors in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Ass'n, not a single jurisdiction has passed a law regulating the sale of violent video games to minors. The absence of legislation is striking in light of several subsequent and highly publicized shootings linked to violent video games. For example, after Adam Lanza shot and killed twenty elementary school students in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, it was widely reported that Lanza spent most of his day in the basement playing violent video games such as Call of Duty. [. . .]

"Much of the scholarly commentary before and after the Brown decision focused on whether social science research shows violent video games "cause" violence or other harmful effects in the real world. . . Other scholarship has examined whether courts correctly understand the scientific evidence. One problem was simply the large volume of research. Also, judges and lawyers lacked the training and background knowledge to understand scientific literature. This article focuses on the role of the lawyers using the framework described by Professor Richard J. Lazarus in his 2008 article, Advocacy Matters Before and Within the Supreme Court: Transforming the Court by Transforming the Bar. Lazarus argues the modern Supreme Court bar has come to be dominated by a small number of Supreme Court specialists. Consistent with Lazarus's finding, this Article shows the video game industry's representation by a Supreme Court specialist in Brown gave it advantages over California that likely affected the outcome of the case." 

The full article appears at 95 Nebr. L. Rev. 965, and is also available here.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters


July 28, 2017 - Georgetown Law Alumni Magazine Highlights Tech Offerings at the School

The Georgetown Law Alumni Magazine just featured a great profile on the variety of tech offerings at Georgetown Law. View the tech feature here to learn more about our classes like Coding for Lawyers, the new Georgetown Law Technology Review, our National Security Crisis Simulation, this year's Institute Programming, and thoughts on tech in the new Administration from our Executive Director, Alex Givens.  

 


July 23, 2017 - Georgetown Fellow Drew Simshaw Receives Breunig Humanitarian Award for Work to Improve Communications for People Who Are Deaf & Hard of Hearing

By Jaime Petenko, Research Fellow, Institute for Technology Law & Policy at Georgetown Law

This weekend, Drew Simshaw, who until this month served as a clinical teaching fellow at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Public Representation, will receive Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Inc. (TDI)'s biannual H. Latham Breunig Humanitarian Award for his work on behalf of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. TDI is a national advocacy organization that promotes equal access in telecommunications and media for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened, and deafblind.

We spoke with Drew about his work in Georgetown Law’s Institute for Public Representation Tech and Communications Clinic. Responses below have been edited for clarity and length.

You have been a fellow for the past two years at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Public Representation. What types of cases does the Institute handle and how are students involved at the Institute?

IPR has sections specializing in civil rights, environmental law, and communications and technology law. In the communications and technology section, we are involved mostly at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), participating in rulemakings and adjudications. We are also involved in litigation of agency actions, either supporting the FCC for rules that it adopts or suing the FCC if its action is harmful to consumers.

We take six to eight students per semester who work full-time at the clinic. We really operate as a small law firm. The students operate as the junior associates, the fellows are more like the senior associates and the directors are like the partners. The students get a lot of great hands-on experience and get to take actual cases. For example, we have had students assist with briefs supporting efforts to cap prison phone rates and advocating for media ownership rules that promote opportunities for women and people of color.

You’ve received this award for your work with TDI—Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Can you describe your work with them?

TDI is a nonprofit organization that advocates for improved access to telecommunications, media, and information technology for Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing. TDI works with a coalition of consumer groups concerned with disability access to ensure that all individuals can be part of the telecommunications revolution and can have access to new technologies and communications. Our clinic represents TDI at the FCC on issues such as TV captioning, IP-captioning, advanced communications services, user interfaces that are covered under the Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, and the adoption and deployment of Real-Time Text Technology.   

Often times, TDI is the only group to provide comments for waiver of the FCC's accessibility rules that have been put out for public comment by the FCC. We will draft the comments on behalf of TDI and circulate the comments to a larger contingent of consumer groups concerned with disability access, many of whom will sign onto the comments. Our work reviewing and commenting on these petitions is one example of the broad coalition at work.

You mentioned a number of issues that you focus on for TDI. Is there one issue in particular to which you devoted a considerable amount of time?

The biggest issue I worked on over my two years was the FCC’s transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology. TTY machines are basically old, very bulky machines that allow people to communicate over landlines by typing. People who are deaf and hard of hearing could communicate with loved ones or businesses that also had a TTY machine in a way that resembled, but was not nearly as effective as, text messaging today. Industry petitioned the FCC to replace the requirements that their networks accommodate TTY with requirements for Real-Time Text Technology. Real-Time Text Technology is basically a feature on your phone where you can type and read messages in real time, so the text shows up on the recipient’s device as it is being typed.

Our role helping to facilitate communication between consumer advocacy groups, industry, the FCC, and academics was critical during this time. The transition was also occurring right around the change in Presidential administrations. The Order that officially initiated the transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology was the only item to be unanimously approved by the full Commission at the FCC at a meeting during the transition, when it was really hard to push any measures through. It was really great this Order passed; it is going to do a lot of good. It could have been bogged down for years. 

Why is this transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology so important?

Real-Time Text Technology has a lot of benefits. It is more conversation-like: people can interrupt each other and the back and forth has a flow, as opposed to traditional text messaging where you are sending everything as a block of text. It is also really important in emergency communications, when every second counts, and since the person on the other end won’t need to have purchased a TTY machine. The technology will be on the phone and hopefully automatically be enabled. Also, this feature won’t just be for consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing. This feature will be available on all phones.

Has working on disability access issues influenced how you think about technology?

For a lot of people, technology is a convenience or a form of entertainment. And certainly a lot of our work in Georgetown’s clinic is to ensure that people who are deaf and hard of hearing have the same access to that convenience and those forms of entertainment. But in a lot of cases, technology represents so much more. It represents a lifeline in emergency communications. It represents the ability to conduct everyday communications that a lot of people take for granted. Looking at these issues through the lens of disability access, does change the way you look at technology, the way you look at regulation and the way you look at how we govern.  So it is great to help bring to light the needs of all consumers, who might not otherwise have such an active voice at the FCC.

Tell us about your background and how you became interested in technology and the law.

One of the things that took me to law school was seeing how technology could empower people if used effectively and with proper policy. I had done two terms of AmeriCorps service, working with at-risk youth at the local government level. Working with youth, I could see how they were using technology to connect with each other and to connect with resources and opportunities. Seeing the local government and city being able to reach out and offer services and to connect to people was very empowering. Much of this, of course, depends on all people having access to technology. After AmeriCorps, I wanted to go to law school in order to have a role in this process and to be able to shape policy that could enable empowerment.

In law school at Indiana University, I was on the Federal Communications Law Journal where I developed an interest in emerging technologies and communications law. After law school I was involved in interdisciplinary cybersecurity and privacy work at Indiana University, looking at emerging technologies -- both the good that could come from them with effective policy, but also harms that could result if technology was used in a harmful way.  From there, I came to Georgetown Law and got to be in Washington D.C., at the heart of where the policy is developed, and had the opportunity to work with the law school's tremendous faculty and talented students.

What are your thoughts on receiving TDI’s H. Latham Breunig Humanitarian Award?

The TDI Board selects the recipients for these awards every two years. It was incredibly humbling to go back and look at the past recipients of their awards; they are people who have done just amazing things throughout their career. It’s really a great honor. I am also very happy because the award is a testament to the work of our students and the commitment of the clinic and of Georgetown to public interest work. I had some great fellows before me who laid the groundwork and established this great relationship with TDI and its partners. Most of all, I think it is a great recognition of how the consumer groups and academics have worked together to a degree that I have not seen elsewhere through my career. It is great to recognize all that we have achieved and all that we still have to do.

Drew Simshaw, Recipient of Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Inc.'s biannual H. Latham Breunig Humanitarian Award 2017

Drew Simshaw, Recipient of Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Inc.'s biannual H. Latham Breunig Humanitarian Award 2017