UMass Amherst Alumnus Derek Khanna to Speak on Developments in Federal Technology Policy

Derek Khanna

AMHERST, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Amherst and Commonwealth Honors College alumnus Derek Khanna will present a talk on “How to Restore an Innovation Agenda in Washington” on Friday, March 28 at 3 p.m. in the Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall.

The lecture is an opportunity to learn about the debates taking place in Washington on copyright law, phone unlocking, and recent developments in federal technology policy.

After graduating from UMass Amherst in 2011 with a degree in political science, Khanna went to Washington, D.C. to work under Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and later became a congressional staffer for the House Republican Study Committee.

Khanna is known for authoring a widely read and politically controversial memo, “Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix It” during his time with the Republican Study Committee. Khanna’s innovative policy ideas raised in the memo would create major changes in how intellectual property rights are maintained and managed. The memo was retracted shortly after its release due to the outrage of large corporations and lobbyists who were not prepared for the large shifts in policy that this memo suggested.

Currently, Khanna is a visiting fellow at the Yale Law School’s Information Society Project, an intellectual research center that addresses the implications of the Internet and new information technologies for law and society. He has continued to advocate for a change in intellectual property rights law and federal technology policy.

Some of Khanna’s recent publications include: “The Most Ridiculous Law of 2013 (So Far): It is Now a Crime to Unlock Your Smartphone” and “The Law against Unlocking Cellphones is Anti-Consumer, Anti-Business, and Anti-Common Sense,” both of which have received more than 1 million online hits and propelled a White House We the People petition with more than 100,000 signatories.

The event is co-sponsored by Commonwealth Honors College and the department of political science and is free and open to the public.