Most of my career has been spent working on human rights and counterterrorism. Now I also research, speak, and write about the ethics of mass data sifting.
This includes the controversies around the use of processes sometimes referred to as 'artificial intelligence.' This emerged from my prior work on surveillance-led targeting: some of my clients lost loved ones in a drone strike because poor intelligence in a targeting algorithm was misused. Others were illegally spied on because surveillance programs weren't narrowly tailored.
Today 'big data'—and the increasingly automated processes we use to winnow that data down—shape who is hired and fired; who is arrested or paroled; and who is suspected of terrorism, or even targeted in a lethal attack.
This is one of society's most urgent problems. I'm investigating these uses of mass data—and how we as citizens make these systems accountable to us.
From 2006-2018 I worked at the international NGO Reprieve, directing its counterterrorism work for seven of those years. The team did fantastic work, and I'm proud of it all—but here's a selection of what we did:
Freed dozens of men from Guantánamo.
We brought two landmark court challenges to force-feeding at Guantánamo that established prisoners’ right to sue over mistreatment. During the litigation, we won the first-ever disclosure of force-feeding videotapes. We also aired (with the Guardian) a viral video about force-feeding that ten million people watched in 24 hours.
© US Navy
Sued in multiple countries over the CIA's rendition and torture program.
In May 2018 the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, made an historic apology to my clients—a dissident and a pregnant woman who had been kidnapped and sent to Gaddafi's Libya. We won another suit against the unlawful surveillance of lawyer-client communications in Britain's intelligence court. This was the first time in the court's history that an individual had sued the security services and won. Our investigations led to several judgments in the European Court of Human Rights against EU states that hosted CIA black sites.
© US Air Force
Investigated and litigated drone attacks.
We were the first Western NGO to run field investigations in Yemen and Pakistan. We also brought drone attack survivors to address the White House, Congress, and governments in Europe. Some of the families we helped were given 'condolence' payments.
I appear regularly on broadcast and have published (in my name and for clients) in the Atlantic, the Guardian, Reuters, al Jazeera, the Independent, CNN, Middle East Eye, Newsweek, the New York Times, and the New York Daily News.
I graduated from the University of Texas in 2003 and Harvard Law School in 2006. In 2009, I won the law school’s Gary Bellow award for public service. In May 2018, I was the Times' Lawyer of the Week for my work on Belhaj.
CV available on request.