Who are we?
For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been fighting in courts, legislatures, and communities for our individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. We, a scrappy group of analysts, data scientists, and engineers, have found our way to the ACLU because we believe its mission is more important than ever, and that data has a critical role to play in that mission for the next 100 years and beyond.
Founded in spring 2018, our team has come from all corners of the data universe. We are political scientists, epidemiologists, economists, and computer scientists. We’ve worked for non-profits, start-ups, and Fortune 500 companies. We are artists and musicians who have become statisticians and data journalists. We code in R, Python, and SQL. What unites us is a love of data, and its possibilities for turbocharging the ACLU mission.
What do we do?
We fight alongside our attorneys in the courtroom. In cases that fight to make everyone’s vote count, to cases that protect immigrants and their families, our team brings in quantitative evidence that identifies victims, measures the impact of government actions, and demonstrates disparate impacts on communities.
We fight alongside our advocates in the streets. Whether it’s engaging voters to support key ballot measures that advance their rights, or identifying patterns of racial disparity that support a case for change, our team works with our organizers and advocacy staff to bring relevant data to the fight.
We use data to better engage our members and supporters. People want to hear from the ACLU and know how they can pitch in with the fight! We work with our fundraising, digital, and communications teams to build communities and share with our constituents the content they’re interested in, when and how they want it.
We measure our successes and learn from our mistakes. The ACLU is constantly innovating and trying new tools in the fight for civil liberties. Our team helps the organization test and evaluate new strategies and tactics to maximize our impact.
We care about the ethics of data privacy and fairness in AI. Data and AI can be used for good and bad. In all that we do with our member and supporter data, we adhere to our ACLU policies on data privacy. In our work on the issues, we aspire to combine thorough technical understanding with ACLU values.
What will you find in this blog?
We hope this blog will give you a glimpse into the many exciting projects our team (along with the ACLU’s tech team) undertakes, and be a place to exchange ideas with other like-minded data people. You can expect blog posts that reveal the behind-the-scenes of our work on court cases and publications, share how our team tackles common technical and data-ethics problems, and fun tidbits about the team!