IT News & Events

News about IT at Indiana University and the world

Menu

Maurer law students and IU cybersecurity pros tackle technology and privacy

Real-world experience helps prepare students for careers in ways that are hard to replicate in the classroom

By Julie Songer

As technology continues its rapid advance, privacy issues often get left behind. To examine these issues at the law and policy level, IU Maurer School of Law students have teamed up with the IU Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research (CACR) to study the intersection of privacy and technology.

Called the IU CACR/Maurer Student Affiliate program, the ultimate goal of the collaboration is to provide the science community with relevant, timely, and practical information about legal and policy concepts impacting their missions.

A long tradition of law
A long tradition of law

The Maurer School of Law at IU Bloomington is ranked among the nation's strongest law programs—not to mention one of the oldest. Founded in 1842, Maurer is the ninth-oldest law school in the United States.

“Under the excellent supervision of Scott Russell, a senior policy analyst at the CACR and a Maurer alum, law students have the opportunity to provide research that has an impact on CACR projects. This real-world experience helps prepare our students for professional careers in ways that are hard to replicate in the classroom. Moreover, this CACR/Maurer program is just one example of how IU works collaboratively to help fulfill its robust cybersecurity initiative. Our goal is to make this experience valuable not only for the Maurer law students, but for the CACR and its overall mission,” said Joseph A. Tomain, a senior fellow with CACR and a lecturer at the Maurer School of Law.

Zhihua (Bonny) Qiao participated in the program in 2019 after taking Professor Tomain’s privacy law class. “Law students interested in privacy and cybersecurity opportunities learn the most up-to-date technology and policy issues by going to seminars organized by CACR. They also learn more about the industry by conducting research,” Qiao said. “Law students contribute to research by incorporating law and policy analysis into technological issues, and they gain new perspective in their areas of interest.”

Law students interested in privacy and cybersecurity opportunities learn the most up-to-date technology and policy issues by going to seminars organized by CACR.

Zhihua (Bonny) Qiao, Maurer student

Qiao researched AI-powered legal technology. “I wrote a research paper on the various legal technologies available in the market, and I discussed the challenges that these technologies may bring to the legal profession and traditional legal ethics in particular,” Qiao added. “I analyzed these challenges from the standpoint of the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and I proposed potential solutions to address these challenges.”

Zhihua (Bonny) Qiao, Maurer student

Qiao submitted her research paper to the William and Mary Law School Artificial Intelligence Writing Competition and won third prize for the best writing award.

The IU CACR/Maurer Student Affiliate program is also an opportunity to network with world-renowned privacy and cybersecurity professionals, according to Qiao. “There is an increasing demand for privacy and cybersecurity professionals. Law students who are tech-savvy will gain more advantages in the job market.”

Qiao said Elon Musk’s Neuralink, an implantable brain-machine interface, is definitely an intense topic right now and an interesting research area. “I can think of so many potential legal issues, such as Fourth Amendment search and seizure, Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and First Amendment Freedom of speech that it could impact.”

Qiao said she became fascinated with innovation and technology after interning for two summers in Silicon Valley. She graduated from the Maurer School of Law in May 2020 with a Juris Doctor degree and recently took the Illinois bar exam. She was born and raised in China and came to the U.S. for law school in 2017. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling and binge watching Netflix.