Data & Society is currently seeking an inaugural Policy Director.   The Policy Director will increase the visibility and reach of Data & Society’s research within technology and policy communities.


Data & Society is an independent nonprofit research organization. We believe that empirical evidence should directly inform the development and governance of new technology. We study the social implications of data and automation, producing original research to ground informed, evidence-based public debate about emerging technology.

Our work acknowledges that the same innovative technologies and sociotechnical practices that are reconfiguring society – enabling novel modes of interaction, new opportunities for knowledge, and disruptive business practices and paradigms – can be abused to invade privacy, provide new tools of discrimination, and harm individuals and communities.

The work and well-being of Data & Society is strengthened by the diversity of our network and our differences in background, culture, experience, and much more. We are committed to ensuring that a wide array of perspectives are heard and that our research is made free and available to the public.

About the Policy Director:

The Policy Director will work both internally to coordinate policy engagement opportunities across our research programs, and externally to represent and position our research and researchers to engage with multiple policy-focused communities on emerging technology and society issues. This is a unique role that exists at the intersection of technology, policy, scholarship, and equity, and deeply understands the trade-offs and implications of policy and tech product directions for a range of stakeholders, with a particular focus on addressing the harms data-centric technologies pose to historically vulnerable and marginalized communities.

Primary responsibilities: 

  • Advance opportunities for meaningful policy collaborations related to Data & Society’s areas of research with civil society organizations in the US and EU;
  • Act as an expert liaison to government policy-makers on issues related to Data & Society’s areas of research;
  • Provide research and guidance to technology industry players to inform design and product decisions where Data & Society’s work provides an evidence base;
  • Work closely with program directors, researchers, and leadership to identify and design responses to relevant policy engagement opportunities that center the harms to minoritized groups and advance the just design and use of data-centric technologies;
  • Create materials and programming on identified policy engagement priorities and audiences;
  • Drawing on our network’s research, coordinate and contribute to, in consultation with colleagues and civil society partners, policy documents such as amicus briefs, regulatory comments, and policy briefings;
  • Track research being done at Data & Society and our network organizations that address themes such as algorithmic accountability, data protection, workplace surveillance, health inequities, and content moderation to identify opportunities for policy engagement;
  • Act as a source of expertise internally on major data policy trends and legislation in Data & Society’s primary areas of research in the US and EU; 
  • Represent Data & Society’s research and policy engagement work at convenings, workshops, and other public and private events.
  • Contribute to and participate in annual organizational planning, regular staff and management team meetings, and organizational development in the context of your role.

The ideal candidate:

The ideal candidate has a strong record of advancing racial and economic justice in your work.  You have experience working alongside or within the ecosystem of technology and policy actors -- civil society coalitions, policymakers, and tech industry actors --  in the United States and/or Europe, and are positioned to increase the visibility and impact of the Data & Society network’s research within those communities.   You have bridged scholarship and policy design in the past, and are comfortable with limitations on direct advocacy that Data & Society, as a 501c3 and research institute, adheres to while still contributing to substantive policy design based on research findings.  You’re familiar with the different methods and approaches being developed to govern data-centric systems and the ways in which the emerging evidence base from Data & Society and beyond can inform this. You have experience in balancing opportunistic and proactive opportunities for policy engagement as they emerge.  Finally, you are comfortable coordinating and collaborating with colleagues across reporting structures and within project teams to achieve organizational goals.


  • Deep understanding of the networks and coalitions in Data & Society’s spheres of research, and the methods for achieving their policy and advocacy goals;
  • 7-10  years of experience in policy or governance environments;
  • JD, Masters in Public Policy or Administration  or policy / legal experience within government, civil society or tech industry;
  • Familiarity with historical and current scholarship on privacy, surveillance, and the social and political implications of algorithmic decision-making systems, especially as it affects minoritized communities;
  • Working knowledge of some of the debates around key policy issues and statutes in the United States and Europe relating to data governance, such as net neutrality, algorithmic accountability, use of facial recognition by government, Section 230, the CCPA, the GDPR, HIPAA, and emerging national/global AI policies; expertise in one or more of these areas;
  • Strong written communication skills; public speaking skills a plus.


The Policy Director is a new role at Data & Society. This role reports to the Executive Director and works closely with Program Directors and researchers, the Network Engagement Manager, and the Directors of Creative Strategy and Research.  

Practical Considerations:

  • As Data & Society is working remotely at least throughout 2020, the successful candidate may be based outside of the New York area.
  • You must be eligible to work in the United States; we are unable to sponsor visas.


$90,000 - $120,000

To apply, please submit the following materials here through August 14, 2020:

  1. Cover letter explaining your interest in this role and why you would be the ideal candidate for this position; 
  2. Your Curriculum Vitae;
  3. Sample of your written work related to the above topics--anything from a blog post to legal briefs to academic articles, etc.

If you advance to a later round, we will ask you to participate in a writing exercise and request the names, affiliations, and contact information for three professional references. 

Data & Society provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.


If you have any questions about this role, please send an email to

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