Paul Ohm is a Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. In his research, service, and teaching, Professor Ohm builds bridges between computer science and law, utilizing his training and experience as a lawyer, policymaker, computer programmer, and network systems admininstrator. His research focuses on information privacy, computer crime law, surveillance, technology and the law, and artificial intelligence and the law. Professor Ohm has published landmark articles about the failure of anonymization, the Fourth Amendment and new technology, and broadband privacy. His work has defined fields of scholarly inquiry and influenced policymakers around the world.
Interested in turning scholarly insights into meaningful change, Professor Ohm serves as the inaugural Chair of the Georgetown University Tech & Society Initiative as well as a faculty director for the Institute for Technology Law and Policy and the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law. He has testified before committees of both houses of Congress and advised numerous government agencies including the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, and several state Attorneys General. He serves on the boards of directors for two of the most impactful and innovative nonprofits in technology policy: Upturn and The Markup.
Professor Ohm has been recognized as an innovative and popular teacher. Believing that the 21st century practice of law requires a deep facility with modern technology, Professor Ohm teaches intensive, hands-on courses that introduce law students to Python programming, the Linux operating system, cloud computing, and more. Hundreds of Georgetown Law students without any prior programming experience have learned to write programs in Python from Professor Ohm as part of their JD training. Hoping to spread this curriculum to other schools, Professors Ohm has shared his course materials with numerous colleagues at other institutions who now offer similar courses. More information about the Python course is available at https://cp4l.org.
A seasoned university administrator, Professor Ohm has served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at both Georgetown Law and the University of Colorado Law School, where he served on the faculty for almost a decade. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Associate Dean Ohm helped lead Georgetown Law’s response, overseeing the shift to online and hybrid learning. For these efforts, he was recognized with the Steven Goldberg Faculty Service Award. He currently serves as Georgetown Law’s first Chief Data Officer.
A strong believer in the importance of public service, Professor Ohm has served in numerous roles in federal government. He started his legal career as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice’s legendary Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, where he worked on cutting edge issues around the fourth amendment, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and Electronic Communications Privacy Act. More recently, he served as a Senior Policy Advisor for Privacy to the Federal Trade Commission and to the U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking as an Obama White House appointee. After law school, he clerked for Judge Betty Fletcher in the Ninth Circuit and Judge Mariana Pfaelzer in the Central District of California.
Professor Ohm received a law degree from UCLA and degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from Yale University. Before law school, he helped administer and protect the computer networks of the RAND Corporation and Yale. He writes thousands of lines of Python code each year and lives his life in Emacs and org-mode, although he holds no ill-will towards those who prefer vi.