CCT Professor Highlight: Owen Agho

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CCT is excited to feature adjunct Professor Owen Agho in our latest professor highlight!

Agho was an undergraduate Political Science major at the University of Michigan-Flint. After graduating, he worked at a startup internet company focused on providing personalized advertising based on consumer online behavior.  During his time at the company, he questioned how these emerging technologies could be used in other ways outside of the online retail space.

Agho himself is a CCT graduate from the class of 2015. His thesis focused on how political parties were teaming up with major tech firms to use data to target potential voters. His research was aided and shaped by Professors Diana Owen and Leticia Bode. While conducting research for his thesis, he saw relatively few regulations/laws in the area and found that lawmakers at the time did not fully understand the newly emerging technologies at the time and their potential impacts on society. While at CCT, he created Tech Tours, a unique experience for students to explore the opportunities in different fields by touring and connecting with individuals at various companies. In the first year of Tech Tours, students traveled to San Francisco to visit companies such as Facebook and Google, and met with CCT and other Georgetown alumni working at tech firms in the Bay Area. After CCT, he enrolled in law school at Georgetown, attending night classes while working full-time as the Assistant Director of Graduate Enrichment and Communication at Georgetown in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

In Fall 2022, Agho began teaching a course titled “International Comparative Privacy & Surveillance.” This course, which focuses on surveillance and data privacy, explores the intricacies of privacy not only within the United States but on a global scale and delves into diverse perspectives on the essence of privacy and its fundamental legal principles.

Agho integrates current events and features guest speakers throughout the semester. One such speaker was a former employee of the Department of Homeland Security, who has transitioned into the private sector. Additionally, Agho has invited privacy experts from think tanks, shedding light on the potential biases embedded in society through data usage. A lobbyist has also been brought in to explain their stance on a prospective federal privacy law in the United States, providing insights into policy shaping. Agho’s intention is to expose students to practitioners from various sectors, fostering connections and aiding in the expansion of their professional networks.

Agho explained that his class relies heavily on discussions, aiming to integrate readings that provide students with an opportunity to delve into the intricate and nuanced nature of contemporary privacy and surveillance issues. Agho highlighted the inclusion of topical discussions, citing the emergence of AI as an example. He stated that his class is not a law school class, but that students discuss and learn about relevant laws to give them the necessary context to dive into ideas explored in the class.

Agho is currently a practicing attorney and his practice focuses on data privacy and technology transactions.

Agho’s advice to CCT students is to have a holistic approach to CCT and their time at Georgetown. “Certainly, excelling in your academic endeavors is crucial, but it’s equally important to prioritize forging connections and building meaningful bonds with your classmates and Graduate Students at Georgetown. Make the most of your two years at Georgetown by exploring all the opportunities available on and off campus. I formed lifelong friendships during my time here on campus, and these connections have also become invaluable parts of my professional network. I sincerely hope that today’s CCTers have the same enriching experience.”