Technically Right

This program 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.



The Re-Imagining Tech Fellowship, sponsored by Kenan Institute for Ethics, Trinity College, and Pratt School of Engineering, will offer 15 students pursuing or intending to pursue majors in engineering and computer science at Duke University an interactive summer program exploring the intersection of ethics and technology. This program is part of the Purpose Project.

Fellows will receive a $1,000 stipend; meet weekly on Wednesday evenings from June to August for program events featuring speakers, discussions, hands-on activities and community building; and participate in a 1:1 mentorship program.

Applications are now closed for 2022 Re-Imagining Tech fellowship. Visit the program page to see this year’s ReTech fellows.

Student Competitions

Open to Duke undergraduate and graduate students! 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.

2021–2022 Ethical Tech Case Competition


1st Place: Joey Gasperi, Katherine Humphreys, Sai Raghava Keshava Anirudh Manchiraju, Lara Gemar

2nd Place: Timothy Gunawan, N Wang, Zoe Spicer

3rd Place: Quan Nguyen, Joey Scarpa, Henry Burns


Organized by the student-run Ethical Tech and supported by Technically Right at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, this competition gives Duke undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to tackle a practical case challenge centered around technology and ethics in a multidisciplinary way. Problems 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.

The deadline for this year’s competition is March 21, 2022.

Information on previous competitions:

Spring 2021 Student Ethical Tech Competition

Spring 2020 Student Ethical Tech Competition

Recent Events

Data Privacy Day: A Conversation with Neil Richards about his book "Why Privacy Matters." Headshot of speaker and book cover. Other event details listed.

  • Friday, January 28, 2022


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  • Tuesday, November 15, 1-2PM EST


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  • Tuesday, October 19, 6-7:30PM EST


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  • Tuesday, September 21, 6-8PM EST


The Robert R. Wilson Distinguished Lecture Series presents “Exploring Options: Overcoming Barriers to Comprehensive Federal Privacy Legislation,” featuring Christine S. Wilson (U.S. Federal Trade Commissioner) and two panels of leading privacy law scholars and experts.

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


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.

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


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.

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ETHICS 89S: What Now? Privacy and Its Meanings for a Connected Life Well-lived – Privacy matters in our everyday lives – whether we are online, using social media, at home or out in public; when we are communicating, protesting, working, learning, dealing with a pandemic, and interacting with others in a spectrum of social and political contexts. In this class, we will explore various dimensions of privacy – control over personal information, confidentiality, dignity and respect, autonomy, practical obscurity, anonymity, secrecy, solitude, trust, the right to be let alone, intimacy, intellectual privacy, and freedom from surveillance. We will study privacy as an individual interest and as a social value. Privacy matters – even if you think you have nothing to hide. Part of the What Now? network of freshman seminars.

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.