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Alvaro Bedoya, Executive Director, Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, 33


Job: I run a privacy think tank. We try to figure out how to protect privacy for a new generation of technology—like facial recognition or wearable devices. We also train lawyers to be tech literate and to be comfortable working with engineers.

Community involvement: In 2009, I co-founded the Esperanza Education Fund, a nonprofit college scholarship that’s open to local immigrant students regardless of their immigration status. We’ve awarded over half a million dollars in scholarships.

Career highlight: Working for Sen. Al Franken. I started on his first day in office and staffed him through two Supreme Court confirmation hearings, immigration reform, and in setting up his new subcommittee, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. I learned a lot from him.

Why this career: Our privacy laws are stuck in the 1980s—on a good day. The FBI and most states are rolling out facial recognition systems—none of which have any serious privacy restrictions. Online and offline companies have rolled out their own facial recognition systems, too. Companies you’ve never heard of create detailed profiles of who you are, where you shop, your health conditions and your financial situation, and sell that information to the highest bidder. We need better privacy laws, and we need them now. I like that challenge.

Where you grew up: I was born in Lima, Peru, and raised in upstate New York.

Why DC: DC may not be the center of the tech universe, but it is the place where our nation’s key tech law and policy decisions are made. Plus, 2 Amy’s is here.

First job: Mediocre paperboy for the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin.

Free time: I spend a lot of time working on projects for the Esperanza Education Fund. When I have genuine free time, I love movies.

Favorite vacation spots: Big Sur, CA, and Cuzco, Peru

Bucket list: Producing a movie.

Daily habit: Checking Twitter way too often (@alvarombedoya).

Startling fact: I used to be a lead singer in a DC salsa band. We played upstairs at Meze in Adams Morgan. After I left, they became an Irish-Salsa band, which is a real thing. Bonus fun fact: I once petted a rabid kitten and had to get rabies shots.