Protect Privacy advocacy internship –
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group is a non-profit advocacy organization. We’re looking for interns to help our work standing up for the public interest.
One of our issues is data privacy. We live in a digital world. Almost every interaction we have with companies happens through technology – which makes it possible for the company on the other end to harvest lots of detailed and sensitive data about you.
In the last year we’ve seen dating apps selling your profile; fast food apps tracking your constant location even when closed; health sites allowing third parties to lurk in the background and record every article you read; and smart toys sending full transcripts of a child’s interactions with a toy to unrelated companies. Most of this corporate data harvesting happens without our permission, and can harm us – making it more likely our data will be exposed in data breaches, or end up in the hands of bad actors that don’t have our best interests at heart.
The Public Interest Research Group’s Don’t Sell My Data campaign is hiring summer interns to work to put people back in control of their data.
Interns will complete a minimum of 80 hours of training and volunteer work between May 15 and August 28. Exact dates and work schedule are flexible based on your summer availability. Interns will be selected for the internship that best fits their interests and skills.
Internship responsibilities may include:
- Rapid response: Monitor privacy and data security news, and write breaking news updates for the PIRG site detailing bad corporate practices and what potentially affected people should know.
- Media: Identify relevant reporters and outlets, and learn to craft press releases and write quotes commenting on breaking news.
- Research: Contribute to long-term research projects on topics ranging from social media and its impact on the teen mental health crisis, to privacy implications of virtual reality headsets like Facebook’s Oculus. (This list will be evolving between now and the beginning of the internship, and all the way through the summer, and may be influenced by intern interests.)
- Advice: Create useful tips guides covering topics like: how to set the highest privacy protection settings on social media and smartphones; how to request a log of all the data a company has collected about you; and how to identify apps that are harvesting dangerous data about you in the background. Interns will have their names listed as authors on public-facing sites.
- Social: Craft strategic social media content for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to publicize our news and tips guides and further our campaign message.
- Campaigning: Participate in and drive campaign tactics, like writing letters to the editor or running phone banks to support state legislation.
Additionally, interns will attend trainings to develop advocacy skills, like public interest lobbying and how to conduct advocacy research. Interns will also participate in weekly team meetings to share progress on projects and help troubleshoot questions with other team members and with the campaign director. Interns will also have individual weekly meetings with the campaign director to discuss questions about their project, and opportunities to develop the skills they would like to focus on.
Candidates must have completed at least one year of college. Successful interns will have strong writing and communication skills, research experience, and a proven ability to work independently and with others to meet deadlines. The right people will be motivated, curious, and have a strong desire to learn about working in advocacy for the public interest for the long-term.
Some part-time in-person work may be available to those in the Boston area. Most interns will work remotely. Remote interns can be based anywhere but must have access to a reliable internet connection, a working web camera, and be available during normal business hours at least 2 days a week – preferably more.
Check with your school’s Internship Coordinator BEFORE accepting the hiring offer to determine if this position satisfies the criteria for receiving academic credit.
Internships with PIRG are unpaid. We will work with interns to coordinate with their universities to meet requirements for course credit.
Applications will be reviewed and hiring decisions will be made on a rolling basis. For more information, send an email to R.J. Cross (email@example.com).
Other Things to Know When You Apply
PIRG is part of The Public Interest Network — a group of organizations that share a vision of a better country, a set of core values, and a coordinated strategic approach to getting things done. Visit publicinterestnetwork.org to learn more about the network before you apply.
PIRG is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, disability, pregnancy, or veteran status.