WASHINGTON, DC—Matthew Guariglia, a Senior Policy Analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), has been named a National Governing Institutions Fellow at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.  

This multi-month residential fellowship is designed to support scholars working on research that can impact policy making. Guariglia—who won this fellowship in his personal capacity, outside of his work with EFF—will work on a new book about the dramatic increase of the U.S. government's ability to collect and store information on individuals and how it has used that information for good and ill, from Civil War military pensions to National Security Agency mass surveillance. The book is tentatively titled “Burn the Files: Surveillance, Information, and Power in the United States.” Guariglia will continue in his role at EFF during the fellowship, although the project is separate. 

The Kluge Center was created to provide space to better understand and address the challenges facing democracies in the 21st century by bridging the gap between scholarship and the policymaking community. The center invites into residence top thinkers from around the world to distill wisdom from the rich resources of the Library of Congress and to foster mutually enriching relationships with lawmakers and other policy leaders. 

"Behind a number of destructive American institutions—like Chinese exclusion, ‘red scare’ hysteria, mass incarceration, and digital mass surveillance—have been people sifting through paperwork and organizing files,” Guariglia said.  

“Over the last 150 years, the U.S. government has constantly been increasing its capacity to collect information, either through bureaucratic procedure or surveillance, and then storing and organizing that information in ways that have often made marginalized groups more vulnerable to state intervention,” he said. “I hope more research and learning from the past can lead us to a future where the government's management of our information can be done in a responsible way to everyone's benefit and not used in a punitive way that erodes trust in key institutions." 

For Matthew Guariglia’s bio and photo: https://www.eff.org/about/staff/dr-matthew-guariglia-0 

For more about the Kluge Center: https://www.loc.gov/programs/john-w-kluge-center/about-this-program/about-the-kluge-center/