Danielle Citron Leads New LawTech Center at UVA

By TAP Staff Blogger

Posted on September 29, 2021


While some of the topics may be focused on matters at the heart of public debate — like the legal responsibilities of online platforms, privacy and security legislation, or algorithms used in criminal sentencing — others may be dedicated to educating students, academics, lawyers and the public about the laws and policies governing networked technologies.
- Professor Danielle Citron discussing the launch of the LawTech Center at UVA


Professor Danielle Citron is the inaugural director of the LawTech Center, a new scholarly center at the University of Virginia Law School. The center focuses on pressing questions in law and technology, including policy concerns, data analysis of legal texts, and the use of technology in the legal profession.


The LawTech Center


One of the LawTech Center’s first special projects will be investigating if informing the public about attacks on critical infrastructure would create social harm or be helpful. Currently, private companies that run utilities, such as water treatment plants, have no legal obligation to disclose when they’ve been hacked. The center will also sponsor research on the role of cities and other municipalities in privacy policymaking.


Planned programming for the spring includes guest speakers and a “tabletop exercise” for students to simulate an organizational response to a cyberattack. Citron will partner with affiliated professors such as Eichensehr, who directs the National Security Law Center, as well as other public- and private-sector professionals and student leaders in preparing the exercise. The center also looks to host an in-person conference on the governance of online platforms — those tech companies who have entered our everyday lives both socially and professionally — sometime in 2023.


About Professor Danielle Citron


The second-most cited professor in the nation on issues of law and technology, Professor Citron is the Jefferson Scholars Foundation Schenck Distinguished Professor in Law at UVA where she writes and teaches about privacy, free expression, and civil rights. Her scholarship and advocacy have been recognized nationally and internationally. In 2019, Professor Citron received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, informally known as a genius grant, based on her work on cyberstalking and intimate privacy.


For the past decade, Professor Citron has worked with lawmakers, law enforcement, and tech companies to combat invasions of intimate privacy. In June 2019, she testified before Congress about the national security and privacy risks of deepfakes and has been working with Hill staff on a bill to criminalize digital forgeries. She has been deeply involved in reform efforts around the regulation of online platforms. In October 2019, she testified before Congress about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. She is currently working with Senate and House staff on proposed Section 230 amendments, and has been working with major tech companies on privacy matters.


Below are a few of Professor Citron’s recent articles:

  • Privacy Injunctions” examines what injunctive relief might look like for victims of nonconsensual pornography and deepfake sex videos. (Emory Law Journal, Forthcoming, written August 5, 2021)
  • A New Compact for Sexual Privacy” examines how the private-sector’s handling of intimate information is largely unrestrained by American consumer protection law, and presents privacy law reforms that focus on stemming the tidal wave of collection, restricting uses of intimate data, and expanding the remedies available in courts. (William & Mary Law Review, Forthcoming, written June 2020)
  • Standing and Privacy Harms: A Critique of TransUnion v. Ramirez,” coauthored with Daniel Solove, critiques the U.S. Supreme Court decision, TransUnion v. Ramirez, that severely limited the effective enforcement of privacy laws through the standing doctrine. (101 Boston University Law Review Online 62, July 28, 2021)

Learn More