BOSTON (AP) — Two Massachusetts business leaders agreed Tuesday to provide $1 million in startup funding for a new initiative aimed at ensuring that new technologies are used to protect rather than limit civil liberties.
The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Massachusetts said the $1 million in initial backing will come from Joshua Boger, founder of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Paul Sagan, executive vice chairman of Akamai Technologies, a Cambridge-based Internet services company. Boger and Sagan are also offering an additional match of up to $1 million more to encourage new supporters.
ACLU Foundation Executive Director Carol Rose said the group will work with business leaders and traditionally underserved communities, particularly those who are targets of oppression and discrimination. She said the group hopes others business leaders will join the effort "to ensure that the 21st century is a time in which we expand the frontiers of liberty — as well as science and technology."
The two-part initiative will have an initial focus of ensuring government transparency and effective warrant requirements for government location tracking, surveillance, data-mining and eavesdropping. It will also focus on protecting the human rights of immigrants.
It will use litigation, public education, media and field mobilization to build support for privacy and equal justice. The initiative is aimed at making sure the law keeps pace with rapidly changing technologies and to model new ways for technology to be used to safeguard equal justice for all.