PRIVACY LAW INTERNSHIPS
Internships are a great way to gain experience in the privacy law field. This page provides information about organizations that offer internships involving privacy law.
For students interested in pursuing a career in privacy law, I also maintain the following relevant pages:
- How to Enter the Privacy Profession
- Privacy Law Fellowships for Recent Law School Graduates
- Privacy Law Entry-Level and Junior Job Opportunities
Non-Profit, NGOs, and Advocacy Organizations
The ABA Antitrust Section houses data privacy (because the FTC enforces both antitrust and privacy). The ABA has a law student ambassador program. This isn’t technically an internship. According to the ABA: “The Law Student Ambassador Program is a working group composed of highly-recommended law students or economics students who are interested in careers in antitrust or privacy. We will meet telephonically every other month for about 30-45 minutes to discuss Section events and opportunities for law students.”
Various offices of the ACLU in different cities have sought interns during the summer. The ACLU focuses on a wide array of issues, including a number of privacy issues such as anonymous speech and protection from government surveillance.
The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization that is dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues. Cato interns work primarily as researchers assisting policy scholars in individual departments ranging from defense and foreign policy, healthcare policy, constitutional studies, and numerous others. Interns who are in law school or who hold a JD receive a stipend of $1400 per month.
CDT is a non-profit located in Washington DC that describes itself as follows: “[W]e work to preserve the user-controlled nature of the internet and champion freedom of expression. We support laws, corporate policies, and technology tools that protect the privacy of internet users, and advocate for stronger legal controls on government surveillance.” CDT tends to take moderate balanced positions on privacy issues, especially consumer privacy issues. Its positions on government surveillance are more strongly on the libertarian side. From time to time, job positions open up.
EFF is a non-profit organization based in San Francisco that describes itself as follows: “The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world.” EFF is located in San Francisco, CA. EFF does advocacy work that includes litigating cases. I am on their advisory board. EFF often has internship opportunities during the summer.
FPF is located in Washington DC. It describes itself as follows: “The Future of Privacy Forum is a nonprofit organization that serves as a catalyst for privacy leadership and scholarship, advancing principled data practices in support of emerging technologies.” FPF is a great career launching pad for privacy because they are very well connected to companies in many industries and are dealing with many cutting-edge issues.
Located in Austria, noyb is a public-interest organization founded by Max Schrems, who has litigated and won several of the most impactful data protection cases in the EU.
Privacy4Cars is the first and only technology company focused on identifying and resolving data privacy issues across the automotive ecosystem. Our mission, Driving Privacy, means offering a suite of services to expand protections for individuals and companies alike, by focusing on privacy, safety, security, and compliance.
Privacy International is an international human rights group based in London, England with offices in Washington, DC and Sydney, Australia. It has members in over 40 countries and has led campaigns against national id cards, video surveillance and other privacy violations in numerous countries including Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the Philippines. The Volunteer Program seeks interested candidates to assist Privacy International’s team at their London office. The commitment is a minimum of three days per week for three months, with intakes for volunteers occurring every spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) is a nonprofit organization protecting privacy for all by empowering individuals and advocating for positive change. It publishes extensive educational materials on complex issues, and helps shape the dialogue around privacy by highlighting individual stories and championing strong consumer protections. PRC accepts legal interns to research and write memos, regulatory comments, and analysis on relevant case law and legislation. Ideal candidates will have a demonstrated interest in data privacy issues and consumer education. The organization accepts applications for the spring, summer, and fall semesters.
The Public Interest Privacy Center is an organization that equips stakeholders with the insights, training, and tools needed to cultivate effective, ethical, and equitable privacy safeguards for all children and students. They occasionally hire interns.
Public Citizen is a non-profit that describes itself as follows: “Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest – your interests – in the halls of power. Since our founding in 1971, we have defended democracy, resisted corporate power and worked to ensure that government works for the people – not for big corporations.” Their platform isn’t primarily focused on privacy. Public Citizen handles a wide array of issues affecting democracy, and some of these involve law and technology with privacy implications.
Public Knowledge is a non-profit that describes itself as follows: “Public Knowledge promotes freedom of expression, an open internet, and access to affordable communications tools and creative works. We work to shape policy on behalf of the public interest.” Public Knowledge focuses on a handful of issues, many relating to free speech. Some issues involve privacy, especially their work on broadband privacy.
Professional and Industry Associations
NAI is located in Washington, DC and describes itself as follows: “NAI is a non-profit organization that is the leading self-regulatory association dedicated to responsible data collection and its use for digital advertising.” NAI has hired many GW Law students as interns, and it has hired quite a number of my students for permanent positions. Students who have worked or interned there have reported very positive experiences.
The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) is an advocacy and policy organization for technology and innovation companies. Job openings can be found here.
The Software & Information Industry Association is the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry. SIIA provides global services in government relations, business development, corporate education and intellectual property protection to the leading companies that are setting the pace for the digital age. SIIA offers paid internships for undergraduate and graduate students throughout the year. Interns support various membership divisions and departments including Education, Content, Software and Marketing/Communications.
The World Bank sometimes hires student interns to work with its privacy team.
The Berkman Klein Center at Harvard has a summer internship program. A few former students have done this internship and enjoyed it.
Private-Sector Companies and Law Firms
AT&T often has interns working with its privacy global public policy team.
Meta has often hired interns during the semesters and summer.
Google has often hired interns during the semesters and summer.
Hintze Law, a boutique privacy law firm in Seattle, offers summer intern positions as well as externships during the school year. The firm announces via LinkedIn and other social media channels when they are accepting applications for summer positions. This is typically in late summer or early fall. 1Ls or 2Ls can apply, but there is a preference for 2Ls. The firm sometimes extends offers to join the firm in a permanent position after graduation. The firm also offers externships during the school year. The application process is less structured, with applications accepted at any point during the year.
Government Agencies and Departments
The CFPB regulates banks and financial institutions. It enforces the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The CFPB has a paid summer internship for students.
The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection stops unfair, deceptive and fraudulent business practices, including inadequate privacy and data security policies or practices. The Bureau collects complaints, conducts investigations, files suits, and develops rules to maintain a fair marketplace. The Bureau offers both a Summer Law Clerk Program and entry-level careers.
Some FTC Commissioners hire interns.
The FTC’s Office of International Affairs (OIA) often seeks interns throughout the school year. Several former students work there permanently.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a physical sciences laboratory, and a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce. From the smart electric power grid and electronic health records to atomic clocks, advanced nanomaterials, and computer chips, innumerable products and services rely in some way on technology, measurement, and standards provided by the agency. NIST offers a variety of internships and jobs.
National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA) is the Executive Branch agency that is principally responsible for advising the President on telecommunications and information policy issues. The agency offers legal, policy, and technical internship opportunities throughout the year for students motivated by a passion for Internet and communication policy. For job listings at the agency, check USAjobs.gov.
Federal and State Legislatures
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law oversees laws and policies governing the collection, protection, use and dissemination of commercial information by the private sector, including online behavioral advertising, privacy within social networking websites and other online privacy issues. Applications for internships and clerkships on the Judiciary Committee are considered through Members’ personal offices. For information on how to contact Members’ offices, click here.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet has jurisdiction over legislation, Congressional action, and other matters relating to communications. The Subcommittee is also responsible for oversight of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The Commerce Committee offers full and part-time summer, fall, and spring internships in Washington, D.C. for undergraduate, graduate, and law students.