Ari Ezra Waldman07.08.20 — The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced a $25,000 investment to support research by Professor Ari Waldman on the First Amendment, with a focus on power, speech and free expression on digital platforms.

A leading authority on law and technology, Professor Waldman joined Northeastern University’s faculty on July 1 as Professor of Law and Computer Science with a joint appointment at the School of Law and Khoury College of Computer Sciences. He studies asymmetrical power relations created and entrenched by law and technology, with particular focus on privacy, online harassment, free speech and the LGBTQ community.

Waldman's project is one of 20 projects that received $1.7 million from Knight to focus on research to inform the public conversation on current issues in technology policy, including free expression online, and the scale and power of digital platforms. These grants, which come amid growing debate over technology’s role in our democracy, will help ensure that society is equipped to make evidence-based decisions on how to govern and manage the now-digital — and increasingly privately-owned — public square.

The awards mark the culmination of Knight’s $50 million commitment to catalyze new research to inform how technology is transforming our democracy. Knight’s overall investment has led to the establishment of new research centers at five universities around the country, and is supporting a range of ongoing research at a growing network of institutions of higher learning, independent research organizations and policy think tanks focused on understanding technology’s impact on democracy and helping to inform solutions.

"As we proceed from a pandemic to an election, everything about technology is getting bigger: the companies, their role in our lives, and the debate about how to manage what we say and do online,” said Sam Gill, Knight’s senior vice president and chief program officer. “From COVID-related misinformation to labeled posts by the president, it's clear that we need to chart a path forward about how to best protect democratic values in a digital age."

About Northeastern University School of Law

The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country and is a national leader in legal education reform. Founded with cooperative legal education as the cornerstone of its program, Northeastern guarantees its students unparalleled practical legal work experiences. All students participate in full-time legal placements, and can choose from the more than 1,500 employers worldwide participating in the school’s signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experience to successfully practice law.

For more information, contact d.feldman@northeastern.edu.