As the program manager for the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation Program on Demography, Technology, and Criminal Justice at the Library of Congress, I am pleased to welcome Orin S. Kerr as the Scholar-in-Residence for the program. As Scholar-in-Residence, Professor Kerr will use the Library’s extensive collection to conduct research on the topic area “Information Technology vs. Privacy—The Impact on Criminal Justice.” He will also prepare a paper on his research, give a lecture, and convene and facilitate virtual conversations about the research among multidisciplinary international subject matter experts. Professor Kerr stated, when accepting the appointment, “I will focus my attention on developing and publicizing simple frameworks for understanding the basic choices that legislators and investigators face in regulating privacy in new technologies.”
Professor Kerr’s background and experience makes him a perfect fit for our program. He is a tenured Professor of Law at George Washington University, where he teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Computer Crime Law. The focus of his academic research has been on how new technologies change criminal law and criminal investigations. His work in this area has been cited in over 70 judicial decisions, including in the United States Supreme Court’s January 2012 decision in United States v. Jones on the constitutionality of the warrantless use of GPS monitoring. Professor Kerr’s articles have been published in many leading law reviews, including the Harvard Law Review and the Yale Law Journal.
No stranger to technology, Professor Kerr blogs for The Volokh Conspiracy (which is included in our archive) on a regular basis about developments in privacy law and criminal law and continues to occasionally litigate cases in the area of police investigations. He has already blogged about his selection as Scholar-In-Residence.
Last year, he argued before the United States Supreme Court in the case of Davis v. United States. Widely quoted in the media as an expert in the law of privacy and criminal investigations, his work has been profiled in The New York Times and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and he has also testified before both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on subjects such as the PATRIOT Act and updating the electronic surveillance laws.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by things technological; I used to take radios apart to see if I could put them back together. The fact that I grew up to become a lawyer didn’t seem to be a contradiction to me because of the major impact that advances in technology have always had on the practice of law and the process of conducting legal research. I became very excited when I was asked to serve as program manager and coordinate this project – I am being allowed to have a front row seat to the evolution of “the next big thing.”
Professor Kerr’s work as Scholar-in-Residence will provide an interactive forum for discussing the privacy rules that should apply in modern criminal investigations with changing technologies. This dynamic forum will include webinars, videos, and blog posts, and will make excellent use of the vast collection of the Library of Congress. This is the next big thing!
We are grateful to the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation allowing the Library of Congress to create a program focusing on developing new research in criminal justice, and for their generous support of this program. We welcome Professor Kerr to the Library of Congress, and look forward to working with him.