News  |    |  February 24, 2020

Cornell joins network to expand public interest tech

News article by By Melanie Lefkowitz.
Published in the Cornell Chronicle.

When Karen Levy, assistant professor of information science, teaches her class on privacy and surveillance, she’s often struck by how students want to build technology for good.

“They say, ‘I want to be thinking much more consciously about the ethical aspects of my work, or I want to use my skills to help address social issues. What do I do?’ And my answers are not that satisfying,” said Levy, also an associate member of the faculty of Cornell Law School. “There has not been a pipeline for folks who want to do that work.”

As part of its efforts to develop that pipeline, Cornell is joining the Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN), a collaboration of 36 colleges and universities committed to building the field of public interest technology and preparing a generation of civic-minded technologists.

“Cornell can be a leader in changing the infrastructure of what’s possible for students to do in this area, but it’s not a one-university project,” said Levy, who is co-leading Cornell’s role in the partnership with Solon Barocas, assistant professor of information science. “It makes a lot more sense to make these concerted efforts with a lot of allies than it does to try to forge this on our own.” [ . . . ]