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Meet the Experts: A panel on public participation in technological decisions

Community Event
You're invited to Meet the Experts! Join us for a panel discussion in an ongoing series around the community's role in digital policy.
10:00 am 11:00 am
Available Online

Connection Instructions

Please RSVP

We encourage participants to register, but it is not a requirement to join the conversation. Please register to let us know you're attending, and to receive a reminder about the event.

Event details

This expert panel invites the Portland community to learn and explore how communities and the public can participate in decisions involving information and technology applications in cities.

The City of Portland is exploring how our community can participate in decisions involving surveillance technologies implementation. The importance of public involvement comes from the need to center technology implementation on people’s needs and assuring transparency, accountability, and equitable outcomes.

The goal of this edition of "Meet the Experts" is to provide information to our local community and support informed decisions and conversations on surveillance oversight and effective public involvement.

We will start with some guided questions and follow by questions from the audience or submitted in advance. We encourage live attendees to be prepared with their own questions.

You may also register to attend two public events where our team will be discussing how the Portland community can be more involved in decisions around surveillance technologies:


Helen Hayes

Helen Hayes headshot
Helen A. Hayes

Helen A. Hayes is a Ph.D. Candidate at McGill University where she examines the intersections between climate policy and tech regulation. She holds a master’s degree in communication studies from McGill University (2020) and an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto (Victoria College 1T8).

As Research Manager at the Centre for Media, Technology, and Democracy in Canada, Helen oversees all research outputs, leads the AI Policy portfolio, and has steered the Centre’s deliberative democracy initiatives with Canadian Youth. Her work has been published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, Interfaces: Essays on Computing & Culture, and Lecture Notes in Computer Science, amongst others.

Helen is also a member of the Digital Governance Council of Canada’s drafting committee, and a co-author of two forthcoming books Voting Online: Technology and Democracy in Municipal Elections (McGill-Queen’s University Press, ’24) and Regulating Digital (UofT Press, ’25).

Brian Hofer

Brian Hofer headshot
Brian Hofer

Brian Hofer is Chair of the City of Oakland’s Privacy Advisory Commission and the Executive Director of Secure Justice. His advocacy has been instrumental in several nation-leading ordinances, including ones that established a vetting framework for the potential acquisition and use of surveillance equipment. Brian has consulted with the cities of San Diego, San Jose, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Portland on establishing similar frameworks.

Brian has presented on his work at conferences sponsored by the California Department of Justice, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the law schools of Berkeley, NYU, Georgetown, University of Southern California, Cleveland State University, the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy, hundreds of governing bodies at the state, city, and county level of government, and he has testified before various California state Senate and Assembly committees in support of privacy enhancing legislation.

Michelle Gilman

Michele Gilman headshot
Michele Gilman

Michele Gilman is the Venable Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Professor Gilman directs the Civil Advocacy Clinic, where she supervises students representing low-income individuals and community groups in a wide range of litigation, legislation, and law reform matters. Professor Gilman writes extensively about data privacy and social welfare issues, and her articles have appeared in journals including the California Law Review, the Vanderbilt Law Review, and the Washington University Law Review, as well as in the popular media.

She is an affiliate at Data & Society, where she was a faculty fellow from 2019-2020, researching the intersection of privacy law with the concerns of marginalized communities. For the 2023-2024 academic year, she is a visiting professor at Georgetown Law School, serving as the Acting Director of the Communications and Technology Law Clinic. She received her B.A. from Duke University, and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Read Michelle's article from Data & Society, "Democratizing AI: Principles for Meaninful Public Participation."

Our panelists are involved in expanding public participation on digital rights, privacy, and democratization of artificial intelligence. This discussion will explore how to be more inclusive in government technology decisions, what this means to transparency, oversight, and the development of communities and neighborhoods, and what is needed to make it a reality.

The panel is organized by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s Smart City PDX program and the Office of Equity and Human Rights.


Please let us know as soon as possible if you need special accommodations, ASL or interpretation services. Please contact Smart City PDX or fill out the RSVP form.

About Smart City PDX

Smart City PDX is a program of the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. The program's mission includes using data and technology responsibly to support a healthy, safe, more affordable and prosperous Portland for everyone.

About the Office of Equity and Human Rights

The City of Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights promotes equity and reduction of disparities within City government; it also works with community partners to promote equity and inclusion within Portland and throughout the region, producing measurable improvements and disparity reductions.