Jennifer Daskal is investigating efforts by several nations—including the United States, the UK, and Brazil—to gain access to data stored outside their borders, in ways that have significant implications for privacy and related human rights across the globe. As electronic evidence becomes increasingly crucial in fighting crime, states are understandably frustrated by rules that prohibit direct access to highly mobile data, based solely on where it happens to be stored. But the response is concerning: data localization measures, alternative (and less transparent) means of accessing the data, unilateral assertions of extraterritorial jurisdiction, and mandatory de-encryption requirements. Meanwhile, companies—the new gatekeepers—are increasingly playing a key, and largely unregulated, role in determining when and under what circumstances data should be turned over to investigating officials. Through a series of articles, blog posts, and op-eds targeted at key government officials, corporate actors, and opinion leaders, she is working to develop and promulgate effective and just approaches to this new problem.
Daskal’s latest article on the issue, “The Un-Territoriality of Data,” came out in the Yale Law Journal in December 2015. She joined American University’s Washington College of Law in 2013 and teaches and writes in the fields of criminal law, national security law, and constitutional law. From 2009 to 2011, she was counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Department of Justice and served on the Secretary of Defense and Attorney General-led Detention Policy Task Force. Prior to joining DOJ, she was the senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch, worked as a staff attorney for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and clerked for the Honorable Jed S. Rakoff. She is a graduate of Brown University, Harvard Law School, and Cambridge University, where she was a Marshall Scholar. She is founding editor of the Just Security blog.