Announcing the 2021 Technology and Human Rights Fellows

2021 Technology and Human Rights Fellows: Brie McLemore and Ifejesu Ogunleye

Taraaz and the CITRIS Policy Lab welcome the 2021 Technology and Human Rights fellows

Taraaz and the CITRIS Policy Lab are proud to announce the 2021 Technology and Human Rights Fellows. Two University of California graduate students were selected to carry out projects at the intersection of technology and human rights. During the fellowship program, fellows will work on an original project of their choice and receive feedback and support from the directors of the fellowship program. They will present their completed projects at a virtual event organized by Taraaz and the CITRIS Policy Lab later this year.

Technology and Human Rights Fellows

Brie McLemore
Ph.D. student, Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program, the University of California, Berkeley

Project Title: When the Streetlights Come On: How “Smart Cities” are Becoming a Surveillance State

Project Description: This project will produce a toolkit for U.S. city officials to consider the privacy and security vulnerabilities when adopting new technologies that have the potential for wide-spread surveillance and data collection. The project is particularly pressing as smart street lights, as well as other “smart” technologies, sweep across urban locales throughout the country. This guide will center ethics, transparency, and accountability as critical components to consider in order to better ensure that human rights are not violated.

Research Method: Methodologies will include interviews with activists who are currently advocating for U.S. City Councils to adopt ordinances that will prevent intrusions on resident’s privacy, as well as activists and city officials in Oakland, California who have successfully adopted a Privacy Advisory Commission that oversees law enforcement’s adoption of technology that could be used as tools for surveillance.

More about Brie McLemore: Brie McLemore is a Ph.D. student in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on the adoption and integration of technology in urban spaces and the implications for surveillance. Brie’s work is informed by Black Feminist Surveillance Studies, Science and Technology Studies, and Legal Theory. She has a Master of Public Policy/Master of Arts in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Brandeis University and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Gender Studies from New College of Florida. Brie is a Health Policy Research Scholar with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a Berkeley Empirical Legal Studies Fellow, and a Graduate Fellow at the Center for Technology, Society, and Policy at UC Berkeley. Her previous work has been published in the Virginia Law Review, the Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies, and TruthOut. In her free time, she enjoys fencing, caring for her plants, and watching reality television with her dog. You can follow Brie McLemore on Twitter.

Ifejesu Ogunleye
Master’s student, Rausser College of Natural Resources, the University of California, Berkeley

Project Title: Opportunities and Constraints of AI Development in Developing Countries: Case Study of Nigeria

Project description: The proposed project seeks to analyze the gaps in current artificial intelligence (AI) development and innovation trends and identify the opportunities for technology adoption as well as critical constraints to the adoption of AI in sub-Saharan Africa (using Nigeria as a reference country). The guiding hypothesis is that countries in Africa, including Nigeria, are already using basic AI innovations to address specific problems such as financial inclusion. However, despite infrastructure and financial barriers, several priority sectors are prime for advanced and autonomous AI innovation to further economic growth and poverty reduction.

The project will culminate in an AI policy proposal that will include a discussion of the ways in which AI can contribute to achieving the economic priorities of the government, an assessment of the social consequences of AI interventions in particular sectors, and recommendations on infrastructure investments and private sector partnerships needed to support the development and deployment of AI technologies across Nigeria. Finally, the report will also set out ethical and governance frameworks required to adequately protect the rights of users from private and government malfeasance including data collection, sharing, and use frameworks.

Research Method: This is a qualitative research project that involves secondary desk research and interviews with relevant stakeholders such as public officials in low-income communities and/or countries, entrepreneurs, and other private sector participants. The first stage will be a literature review to determine trends in AI technology development followed by stakeholder interviews.

More about Ifejesu Ogunleye: Ifejesu Ogunleye is a graduate student of the Master of Development Practice at the University of California, Berkeley. She has an undergraduate degree in law from the University of Manchester, UK. She began her professional career in public policy working on UK and EU data protection and privacy issues, and other consumer protection issues before transitioning to a corporate law career in Nigeria. As an attorney, she advised multinational corporations operating in Nigeria on various regulatory compliance issues including money laundering and corruption concerns. She was most recently a policy fellow at AI for Good Foundation where she worked on advising public officials in East Africa on relevant artificial intelligence policy initiatives to spur economic growth and development. Ife’s interest is at the intersection of technology and regulation/policy and she is particularly interested in exploring the ways in which appropriate policy and governance frameworks can be established to enable responsible and sustainable AI innovation across various sectors in sub-Saharan Africa. Ife hopes to spend her career advising policymakers on emerging technologies and their ethical and policy implications. You can follow Ifejesu Ogunleye on Twitter and LinkedIn.


The CITRIS Policy Lab supports interdisciplinary research, education, and thought leadership to address core questions regarding the role of formal and informal regulation in promoting innovation and amplifying its positive effects on society.

The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute drive interdisciplinary innovation for social good with faculty researchers and students from four University of California campuses – Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Cruz – along with public and private partners.

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