James Dempsey

  • Berkeley Center for Law & Technology

Executive Director

Berkeley Center for Law & Technology

University of California, Berkeley

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720

(510) 643-6960


Website: UC Berkeley faculty profile

Issues: Internet and Privacy and Security

About James Dempsey

James Dempsey is the Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology and has been a leading expert on privacy and Internet policy for three decades. In addition to his role as BCLT Executive Director, Mr. Dempsey serves as a part-time member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), an independent federal agency charged with advising senior policymakers and overseeing the nation’s counterterrorism programs.

Mr. Dempsey is author or co-author of many articles in law reviews and other journals and is also co-author of the book Terrorism & the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security (New Press, 3rd ed., 2006) (with Professor David Cole of Georgetown University).

Prior to joining BCLT, Mr. Dempsey spent 18 years with the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), a nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, DC, and served as its executive director from 2003 to 2005. He led the center’s Global Internet Policy Initiative, which worked with government officials, industry, and human rights organizations on Internet policy issues in developing and transitional countries. From 2005 to 2014, he was the head of CDT West. Before joining CDT, Mr. Dempsey served as Deputy Director of the non-profit Center for National Security Studies and Special Counsel to the National Security Archive. From 1985 to 1995, he was Assistant Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. He practiced law as an associate at Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC, and clerked for Judge Robert Braucher of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.


J.D., Harvard University, 1979
B.A., Yale University, 1975