Headshot of Professor Deirdre K. Mulligan

Deirdre Mulligan


Fall 2021 semester Monday 4-5; Wednesday 2:15-3:15 and by appointment


privacy, fairness, human rights, cybersecurity, technology and governance, values in design


Deirdre K. Mulligan is a Professor in the School of Information at UC Berkeley, a faculty Director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, a co-organizer of the Algorithmic Fairness & Opacity Working Group, an affiliated faculty on the Hewlett funded Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, and a faculty advisor to the Center for Technology, Society & Policy. Mulligan’s research explores legal and technical means of protecting values such as privacy, freedom of expression, and fairness in emerging technical systems.  Her book, Privacy on the Ground: Driving Corporate Behavior in the United States and Europe, a study of privacy practices in large corporations in five countries, conducted with UC Berkeley Law Prof. Kenneth Bamberger was recently published by MIT Press.  Mulligan and  Bamberger received the 2016 International Association of Privacy Professionals Leadership Award for their research contributions to the field of privacy protection.  She is a member of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Information Science and Technology study group (ISAT); and, a member of the National Academy of Science Forum on Cyber Resilience. She is past-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a leading advocacy organization protecting global online civil liberties and human rights; an initial board member of the Partnership on AI; a founding member of the standing committee for the AI 100 project; and a founding member of the Global Network Initiative, a multi-stakeholder initiative to protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy in the ICT sector, and in particular to resist government efforts to use the ICT sector to engage in censorship and surveillance in violation of international human rights standards. She recently served as a Commissioner on the Oakland Privacy Advisory Commission and helped to develop a local ordinance providing oversight of surveillance technology. Mulligan chaired a series of interdisciplinary visioning workshops on Privacy by Design with the Computing Community Consortium to develop a shared interdisciplinary research agenda. Prior to joining the School of Information. she was a Clinical Professor of Law, founding Director of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, and Director of Clinical Programs at the UC Berkeley School of Law.

Mulligan was the Policy lead for the NSF-funded TRUST Science and Technology Center, which brought together researchers at U.C. Berkeley, Carnegie-Mellon University, Cornell University, Stanford University, and Vanderbilt University; and a PI on the multi-institution NSF funded ACCURATE center.  In 2007 she was a member of an expert team charged by the California Secretary of State to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the voting systems certified for use in California elections. This review investigated the security, accuracy, reliability and accessibility of electronic voting systems used in California. She was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Authentication Technology and Its Privacy Implications; the Federal Trade Commission's Federal Advisory Committee on Online Access and Security, and the National Task Force on Privacy, Technology, and Criminal Justice Information. She was a vice-chair of the California Bipartisan Commission on Internet Political Practices and chaired the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy (CFP) Conference in 2004. She co-chaired Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Academic Advisory Board with Fred B. Schneider, from 2003-2014. Prior to Berkeley, she served as staff counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology in Washington, D.C.

Recent publications include:

  • Automated decision-making on the basis of personal data that has been transferred from the EU to companies certified under the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Fact-finding and assessment of safeguards provided by U.S. law (with Gabriela Bodea, Kristina Karanikolova, and Jael Makagon) (commissioned by the European Commission, the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers) (2018)

  • Mulligan, Deirdre K. and Bamberger, Kenneth A., Saving Governance-by-Design 106 California Law Review 697 (2018)

  • Mulligan, Deirdre K. and Griffin, Daniel S., Rescripting Search to Respect the Right to Truth (August 8, 2018). 2 GEO. L. TECH. REV. 557 (2018).

  • Richmond Y. Wong, Deirdre K. Mulligan, Ellen Van Wyk, James Pierce and John Chuang. (2017). Eliciting Values Reflections by Engaging Privacy Futures Using Design Workbooks. Proceedings of the ACM Human Computer Interaction. 1, CSCW, Article 111 (November 2017).

  • Deirdre K. Mulligan, Colin Koopman, Nick Doty, Privacy is an essentially contested concept: a multi-dimensional analyticfor mapping privacy, Floridi L, Taddeo M (editors). The ethical impact of data science. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A; 2016 374 (issue 2083)

  • Deirdre K. Mulligan and Kenneth A. Bamberger, Public Values, Private Infrastructure and the Internet of Things: the Case of Automobiles, Journal of Law & Economic Regulation, Vol. 9. No. 1, 2016.

  • Richmond Y. Wong, Deirdre K. Mulligan. (2016). These Aren’t the Autonomous Drones You’re Looking for: Investigating Privacy Concerns through Concept Videos. Journal of Human-Robot Interaction 5(3).Richmond Y. Wong, Deirdre K. Mulligan. (2016).

  • Richmond Y. Wong, and Deirdre K. Mulligan. "When a Product Is Still Fictional: Anticipating and Speculating Futures through Concept Videos." Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems. ACM, 2016.

  • Public Cybersecurity and Rationalizing Information Sharing, 30 Berkeley Technology Law Journal 1687 (2016) (with Elaine M. Sedenberg).

  • Public Cybersecurity and Rationalizing Information Sharing, Opinion Piece for the International Risk Governance Center (IRGC). Lausanne: IRGC (2016) (with Fred B. Schneider and Elaine M. Sedenberg)

  • Brief of Amici Curiae Law Professors in Support of Rehearing En Banc: Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., No. 2014-1335, 2015-1029 in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (June 30, 2015).(with Adam Candeub, Amy Landers, Mark Lemley, Michael Feldman)

  • Kenneth A. Bamberger and Deirdre K. Mulligan, Op-ed, Is your data really safer in Europe?, Christian Science Monitor Passcode, June 6, 2016.

  • Apple v. FBI: Just One Battle in the 'Design Wars' The Recorder and law.com, Mar 18, 2016.(with Kenneth A. Bamberger)

  • Design Wars: The FBI, Apple and hundreds of millions of phones, Berkeley blog and the Center for Technology, Society and Policy, March 3, 2016 (with Nick Doty)

  • Sedenberg, E., Chuang, J., and D. Mulligan. “Designing Commercial Therapeutic Robots for Privacy Preserving Systems and Ethical Research Practices Within the Home.” International Journal of Social Robotics (2016).

  • Eric Horvitz and Deirdre Mulligan "Data, privacy, and the greater good." Science 349.6245 (2015): 253-255.


  • Cynthia Dwork and Deirdre K. Mulligan, It’s not Privacy and its not Fair, 66 Stanford Law Review Online 35 (2013).

  • Kenneth A.  Bamberger and Deirdre K. Mulligan, “Privacy in Europe: Initial Data on Governance Choices and Corporate Practices, 81 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1529 (2013).

  • Deirdre K. Mulligan and Nicholas P. Doty, “Internet Multistakeholder Processes and Techno-policy Standards: Initial Reflections on Privacy at W3C,” 11 J. on Telecomm. & High Tech. L. 135 (2013).

  • Deirdre K. Mulligan and Jennifer King, “Bridging the Gap between Privacy and Design,” 14 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 989 (2011-2012).

  • Joseph Lorenzo Hall, Emily Barabas, Gregory Shapiro, Coye Cheshire, and Deirdre K. Mulligan. 2012. Probing the front lines: pollworker perceptions of security & privacy. In Proceedings of the 2012 international conference on Electronic Voting Technology/Workshop on Trustworthy Elections (EVT/WOTE'12). USENIX Association, Berkeley, CA, USA, 2-2.


Current Research

Areas of current research include privacy by design; exploring users' conceptions of privacy in the online environment and their relation to existing theories of privacy; cybersecurity, privacy, and consumer protection issues in IoT; and alternative legal strategies to advance  cybersecurity. 


Past Commissioner on the Oakland Privacy Commission

Past Chair for a series of interdisciplinary visioning workshops on Privacy by Design with the Computing Community Consortium;

Member of the NAS Forum on Cyber Resilience

Past Chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for Democracy and Technology

Former member of the Board of Directors of the Partnership on AI

Former Member of the standing committee for the AI 100 project

Founding member of the Global Network Initiative


B.A., Smith College (1988)
J.D., Georgetown University Law Center (1994)

What is the best thing about working at the I School?
The I School revels in problem-based, integrated, multidisciplinary, and policy-relevant research — what could be better than that?

What information issues interest you most?
The issues that challenge us to reflect upon our norms and laws, and allow us—sometimes force us—to reconsider what's possible and desirable. Technology and information continue to challenge values and expectations domestically, internationally and cross-culturally. This in turn sparks conversations and debates about ideals and aspirations and how best to meet them. It's heady stuff.

Your background is in law. What ignited your interest and subsequent research in information and technology policy?
During and after law school I had the privilege to work at leading public interest organizations dedicated to advancing civil liberties on the Internet, including the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Center for Democracy and Technology. From encryption policy and surveillance, to censorship on the Web, to questions about profiling and consumer privacy, I became keenly aware of the power technology had to shape behavior and enforce or undermine public policy through technical design decisions. I worked closely with computer scientists throughout my time in D.C. and learned that through such collaborations I was better equipped to identify problems and opportunities on the horizon, and more importantly able to construct a richer set of potential solutions. The power of interdisciplinary work became very apparent to me.

Something few people know about you?
I studied art history and architecture before going to law school. My artistic side is currently channeled toward cooking and baking.

What keeps you up at night?
Lots of things, but I bake when I'm anxious — then I can sleep.

Last updated:

August 16, 2022