Technically Right

Technically Right advances ethical tech policy, privacy, and innovation by engaging in interdisciplinary collaboration and research, offering courses for undergraduates and graduate students, and creating opportunities for dialogue and interaction across academia, government, industry, and civil society.

Advancing Ethical Tech Policy and Innovation

Emerging technologies – AI and machine learning, big data, algorithmic decision making, predictive analytics, cybersurveillance, and cyberwar – are forcing a re-evaluation of the relationship between the citizen, the state, corporations and technology itself. Technically Right is committed to advancing public understanding and innovative policy solutions to the ethical challenges posed by new technologies. As a consortium of faculty, students and industry practitioners, Technically Right is contributing to the global conversation, encouraging cross-sector collaboration, and training a new generation of leaders in the areas of privacy and ethical tech.

Technically Right - advancing ethical tech policy and innovation

Student Competitions

Open to all Duke Graduate and Undergraduates, students are challenged to develop regulatory or policy ideas to address the ethics of emerging tech and promote societal well-being, civil rights and liberties, and human rights.

Ethical Tech & Kenan Institute for Ethics Case Competition

The Ethical Tech & Kenan Institute for Ethics Case Competition, co-hosted by Ethical Tech and the Technically Right program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, will give Duke undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to tackle a practical case challenge centered around technology and ethics in a multidisciplinary way. Problems will involve the issues of ethics, legality, privacy, business, and technical feasibility to give competitors a wide view of decision making.

Competitors will be assigned to or register as teams of 3-4 members. It is recommended that teams consist of members with varying backgrounds in engineering, business, policy, law, philosophy, computer science, economics, psychology, design, etc. Teams will be given the problem statement and case file two weeks before the awards are announced, during which time they are free to consult any sources, including professors, alumni, and working professionals.


1st Place Team: $1,250
2nd Place Team: $500
3rd Place Team: $250

Winning teams will have an opportunity to virtually meet with the competition judges who are experts from both the private and public sector. Winning submissions will be featured on the Kenan Institute and Ethical Tech websites.


Teams of 3-4 Duke undergraduate or graduate students will submit a creative solution to the case study provided in the competition packet. This year, students will be asked to consider the ethical, business, and policy implications of a company pursuing the development of facial recognition technology.


Registration Deadline: March 5, 2021 @5 PM EST
Teams Released: March 10, 2021 @8 AM EST
Prompt Released: March 12, 2021 @8 AM EST
Core Deliverable/Video Presentation Deadline: March 21, 2021 @5 PM EST
Awards Announced: March 27, 2021 (time TBD) 
Contact: jhk33@duke.edu

Registration materials coming soon.

Information on last year’s competition: Spring 2020 Student Ethical Tech Competition

Upcoming and Recent Events


  • Wednesday, January 27, 5:00-6:30pm EST

The Social Dilemma

The Social Dilemma is a 2020 American film exploring the impact of social media on mental health and privacy.

Join the Filmmaker and Experts for a debate on how to design social media for wellbeing.

Watch the Video


  • Thursday, January 28, 12:00-4:00pm EST

Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy Day began in 2008 to educate consumers on how to protect their personal information in the digital world. We continue that tradition, as well as addressing contemporary evolving issues and best practices among the EU and US among industry, academia, government, and privacy professionals.

Watch the Video


ETHICS 590S: PRIVACY, ETHICS, DATA AND TECH will evaluate the ethical issues raised when emerging tech and data use intersect with Americans’ privacy interests in a variety of current contexts: law enforcement surveillance technologies; the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic; corporate surveillance and the advertising business model; the ways in which our family, friends and neighbors‘ use of technology can affect our privacy (e.g., DNA testing, Alexa, Amazon Ring, Nest); student surveillance; sexual privacy and Section 230; algorithmic decision-making; and employment issues including hiring and monitoring.

ETHICS 390S.02: DATA & DEMOCRACY explored how to address the challenges posed by foreign interference in U.S. elections, how policy prescription and corporate reform can be shaped by the emerging fields of cyber and data ethics, and examined original source material to better understand the nature of foreign interference in elections. It also included a discussion of interdisciplinary work in multiple fields: data and information science, ethics, privacy law, cybersecurity, national security, state and local governments, corporate governance, voting rights, communications law, internet governance, civil rights, international relations, and political theory.


Tech Talks

Talks given by industry, policy, and academic leaders around the intersection of emerging technology and ethics.

Speakers have included:

  • Sean Lyngaas, Senior Reporter at CyberScoop
  • Rhonda Foxx, Head of Social Equity Policy and Engagements for Intel Corporation
  • Laura Berger, Head of Privacy for the Americas at Linkedin
  • Christopher Daniels, former Head of WhatsApp and VP of Business Development at Facebook
  • Katherine Zhou, Founder of “Design Ethically” and Product Designer at IBM Design
  • Julie Cohen, Professor of Law and Technology at Georgetown University Law Center
  • Will Mackie, Senior Trial Attorney, National Security Division, US. Department of Justice


The Kenan Institute for Ethics hosts an annual, multi-day conference each academic year around the ethics of emerging technology.  This fall, we co-hosted an international conference on Pandemic Surveillance: Privacy, Security, and Data Ethics. For fall 2019, Kenan sponsored a Dinner Roundtable on the topic of Tech Ethics/Corporate Ethics. The 2019 Conference, Tech Ethics and Governance, featured keynotes, panel discussions, and presentations centered around the ethical considerations that attach to the increasing reach of emerging tech, and the regulatory and tech governance models necessary to protect an open democratic society.



Learn more about the competition here