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Race Ex Machina: Confronting the Racialized Role of Technology in the Criminal Justice System

November 18, 2022 @ 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

The event will take place entirely over zoom, but the Goldberg Room (297) will be available for in person attendance. Lunch will be provided at 12:00 P.M., and a reception will take place after the closing remarks at Edmonds Café with additional food and beverages from 2:00 – 4:30 P.M. If you will be attending in person, please RSVP here in addition to registering here.

As algorithmic decision-making and invasive surveillance technologies have become increasingly entangled with the U.S. criminal legal system, it has also become increasingly clear that these technologies and their applications often replicate and amplify existing racial disparities. Predictive policing, pretrial risk assessment, and algorithmic sentencing tools replicate racial bias, yet IP protections make examining and challenging their use difficult. Geofence warrants, facial recognition technology, and video surveillance are disproportionately used to target black and brown communities despite known reliability issues. Invasive applications and tools like ShotSpotter and Clearview AI are bought and deployed by law enforcement agencies with little oversight or attention paid to the harms they cause.
But technology and the law can also be instruments for structural change. The third annual BTLJ-CMTL-BCLT Race & Technology Law Symposium will address a spectrum of privacy and reliability issues raised by the intersection of race and technology at each stage of the criminal justice process, but the focus will be on solutions and reforms for a more just and transparent system.

For this symposium, we are honored to host Representative Mark Takano (CA-41), and Professor Vincent Southerland, Co-Faculty Director of the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law, as our keynote speakers. Representative Takano will discuss his approach to legislative solutions and his prior work on the Justice in Forensic Algorithms Act. Professor Southerland will discuss his research on proposed solutions, particularly as detailed in his paper, “The Intersection of Race and Algorithmic Tools in the Criminal Legal System,” 80 Md. L. Rev. 487 (2021). Additionally, there will be three panels exploring both the problems related to reliability and privacy, and possible solutions and reforms that could be pursued to address them:
PANEL 1: Reliability and Legitimacy
The first panel will focus on issues of reliability in algorithmic decision-making and surveillance tools.
Rayid Ghani, Distinguished Career Professor at Carnegie Mellon University and a proponent of the fair and equitable use of large-scale AI and machine learning in public policy
Logan Koepke, project director at Upturn who researches the impact and use of new technologies on criminal justice
Rebecca Brackman, forensics-resource attorney, Costa County Public Defender’s office.
Moderator: Andrea Roth, Professor of Law and BCLT Faculty Co-Director, Berkeley Law
PANEL 2: Privacy
This panel will focus on issues of privacy and the disparate effect of surveillance tools on black and brown communities.
Christian Sundquist, Professor of Law, U. of Pittsburgh and Co-Founder of The Institute for Racial Justice Research and Advocacy at Albany Law School
Hannah Zhao, staff attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation specializing in criminal justice and privacy
David Siffert, Legal Director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project.
Moderator: Meaghan Katz, BTLJ Symposium Editor
PANEL 3: Paths Forward
The final panel will focus on possible solutions and reforms that could address the problems illuminated by the first two panels as well as the different avenues that could be pursued to achieve them.
Ben Winters, Electronic Privacy Information Center Counsel and leader of EPIC’s AI and Human Rights Project
Sean Hill, Assistant Professor at Moritz College of Law and expert on algorithmic bias in the criminal justice system
Tracy Rosenberg, Executive Director of Media Alliance and the Advocacy Director of Oakland Privacy.
Moderator: Erik Stallman, Associate Director, Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, Assistant Clinical Professor and BCLT Faculty Co-Director, Berkeley Law

We hope this symposium will both draw attention to the racial harms perpetuated by technology in the criminal justice system and inspire action to pursue change.
CLE credit will be offered.


November 18, 2022
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Event Categories:
Courses|MCLE, MCLE




Total MCLE Credits Offered


Goldberg Room (297) & Zoom