Law Students Present Consumer Data Privacy and Equity Research to City of Oakland

Posted 2023-01-25 11:20am
$90K research project funded by Public-Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN) examines consumer data privacy laws and equity impact assessments for surveillance technology

Last month, an interdisciplinary team of Cleveland State University graduate students including Master of Social Work student Sarah Behlke and law students Jessica Cohen, Zachary Jacobson, Sharilyn Clark, and Katrice Williams presented to the City of Oakland California Privacy Advisory Commission (COCPAC), an analysis of the data privacy and equity risks posed by the City’s proposal to expand an app-based mobile parking payment system run by several private vendors.

On December 1, the students presented their analysis and recommendations to representatives from the COCPAC and the Oakland Department of Transportation. Their accompanying memorandum provided eight recommendations to mitigate risks—including incorporating restrictions based on California’s consumer privacy law on how the vendors can use consumer data they collect, and in establishing a more equitable system for citation payments.

Following their presentation Commission Chair Brian Hofer, who also participated in the clinic, said that the students’ analysis “raised important issues that weren't included in the draft proposal from the City” and “saved the Commission several months of work.,” according to Cohen.

“This clinic allowed us to expand our understanding of data privacy and how it impacts equity while applying what we have learned in the classroom to a real-world challenge,” Cohen added. “It was a privilege to engage in this work and we are grateful to the City of Oakland and Cleveland State University for this incredible opportunity.”

The students are participating in the Data Privacy & Equity Assessment Clinic co-taught by Dr. Patricia Stoddard-Dare and Professor Brian Ray with Dr. Chansu Yu (Engineering) and several national experts Kelsey Finch (Aleada Consulting), Miles Light (Future of Privacy Forum), Brian Hofer (Secure Justice), Lydia de la Torre (Golden Data Law), Ann LaFrance (Squire Sanders ret.), and Candace Moore (Golden Data Law).

“It was impressive to see this interdisciplinary group of students work together on a complicated project that will have real benefits for the City of Oakland residents,” said Ray, Director of the Center for Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection and CSU College of Law Professor.

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Data Privacy & Equity Assessment Clinic

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