video, podcastJune 19 2019

Exposing Police Misconduct Data in the Era of Digital Privacy Concerns

Cynthia Conti-Cook

Databite No. 123

Cynthia Conti-Cook’s research at Data & Society focuses on how data tools and technology are drastically changing the criminal justice system in America. Her talk explores police misconduct data and the “data gap” that has proliferated for years on this topic.



Conti-Cook explains how both privacy and free speech are entangled in the idea of the “Right to be Forgotten” in the US and how public officials weaponize this right in order to prevent public access to information related to the misconduct of police. “Police officers, more than any other public servant, have established confidentiality statuses for their prior misconduct information.” As a result, the general public faces a lack of access to prior police misconduct. Conti-Cook and others are currently working on a campaign to repeal New York State Law 50A and to raise public awareness around the issue of the data gap pertaining to police misconduct.

Data & Society 2016-2017 Fellow Rebecca Wexler moderates the post-talk discussion.

Data & Society’s Fellows Talks is a three-part Databite series showcasing our 2018-2019 fellows cohort. Each talk features 2-3 fellows speaking about their work, wide-ranging interdisciplinary connections, and a few of the provocative questions that have emerged this year.

Cynthia Conti-Cook is a staff attorney at the New York City’s Legal Aid Society, Special Litigation Unit, where she oversees the Cop Accountability Project and Database, leads impact litigation and law reform projects on issues involving policing, data collection, risk assessment instruments and the criminal justice system generally as well as supporting staff in the trial offices on their cases. She has presented as a panelist and trainer at many national, state and city venues on topics of police misconduct, technology in the criminal justice system and risk assessment instruments.

About Databites

Data & Society’s “Databites” speaker series presents timely conversations about the purpose and power of technology, bridging our interdisciplinary research with broader public conversations about the societal implications of data and automation.