Maritza Johnson

Maritza Johnson

Professor of Practice, USD

Partner, Good Research

Hello, I’m Maritza, and I am a data privacy expert.

As the founding director of the Center for Digital Civil Society at the University of San Diego, I am working to give people the knowledge and agency they need to thrive in a digital world. As a partner at Good Research, I work with a wide range of organizations to tackle tough challenges at the intersection of data privacy, security, and technology.

I’ve spent my career working in tech. I love technology and acknowledge the many benefits it’s had on society. But I’m worried - deeply worried. The downsides have been devastating, and those of us in tech have not done enough good to take care of the bad. Enough. To do more good, I am focusing on our relationship with data. We need to redefine how we think about, use, and care for data. We need to do better and I am calling on others to join me.

To learn more about my work, check out my publications or Data Curious, a new project I'm leading that aims to stoke your curiosity about your relationship with data and how it's used in our world.

I'm proud to contribute my time and expertise to groups that align with my work. I'm a member of the National Academy of Science Forum on Cyber Resilience, The Ethical Tech Project, Data Science Alliance's Responsible Data Science Working Group, and Charlottesville Women in Tech's Membership Committee. I'm also on the Program Committee for USENIX Conference on Privacy Engineering Practice and Respect 2022.


Toward data dignity: We need common-sense privacy regulation to curb Big Techh

Maritza co-authored an op-ed for Fortune on the need for data dignity, alongside fellow founding board members Tom Chavez and Jesper Andersen from The Ethical Tech Project.

HX Report: Aligning Our Tech Future With Our Human Experience

Maritza was interviewed by All Tech is Human, which is committed to uniting a broad range of stakeholders to co–create a better tech future, on the topic of what's needed to shift our current paradigm towards incorporating a wide range of voices in the process of developing and deploying technology. See page 70.

Toward data dignity: How we lost our privacy to Big Tech

Maritza co-authored an op-ed for Fortune on the need for data dignity, alongside fellow founding board members Tom Chavez and Jesper Andersen from The Ethical Tech Project.

Improving Verifiability in AI Development

While a growing number of organizations have articulated ethics principles to guide their AI development process, it can be difficult for those outside of an organization to verify whether the organization’s AI systems reflect those principles in practice. This report grapples with approaches to mitigate these concerns.


BIML in the Barn: Data Privacy and Machine Learning

A talk about the pitfalls of mistaken assumptions in machine learning, and the importance of centering ML product design in human experience.

Podcast: Human-Centered Design | A Conversation With Maritza Johnson | Tech Done Different With Ted Harrington

How do we build things with the user in mind? How do we marry convenience and usability? How do we make the most secure way also be the path of least resistance? As a security researcher focused on human-centered design, Maritza Johnson studies these questions every day. She joins Tech Done Different to share insights from both her research, and her forthcoming center at University of San Diego.

Podcast: Dr. Maritza Johnson talks human-centered privacy | First Watch Podcast with SafeGuard Cyber

Dr. Maritza Johnson, Security & Privacy Researcher, is passionate about making security accessible in people's everyday lives and even teaches about the subject. She shares about how she fell for a phishing email in the grocery store. We discuss how technology is evolving faster than people can change their security behaviors or modify settings, creating what she affectionately calls "a dumpster fire."