Brittan Heller

brittan heller

Brittan Heller

  • Former Non-Resident Fellow at the Program on the Governance of Emerging Technologies, Cyber Policy Center


Brittan Heller works at the intersection of technology, human rights and the law. She is currently a lecturer in the Political Science Department and a researcher at the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab. Brittan is also a non-residential Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, with the Digital Forensics Research Lab, examining XR's connection to society, human rights, privacy, and security. 

Heller's expertise is in emerging technologies and their fit with existing law. She was an inaugural AI and Technology Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, studying content moderation and security risks in XR and emergent media, which resulted in award-winning publications on privacy, biometrics, targeted advertising, and XR. Heller is a frequent speaker and commentator on XR issues, and has published in The Information, Wired, The New York Times, and the Hill on online harms. She also advises governments, international organizations, and top XR companies on how to build safer and more inclusive immersive spaces.

As former counsel in Foley Hoag LLP's Global Business and Human Rights practice, Heller advised companies, investors, and NGOs on integrating public safety and human rights. She previously founded ADL’s Center for Technology and Society. Her key projects included creating AI to study hate speech and XR experiences for civil rights advocacy. Additionally, Heller prosecuted grave human rights violations at the U.S. Department of Justice and the International Criminal Court and initiated landmark anti-cyber harassment litigation. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School.

Selected Links to Publications:    

The Problems With Immersive Advertising: In AR/VR, Nobody Knows You’re An Ad1 Stanford Journal of Online Trust and Safety (2021).

Watching Androids Dream of Electric Sheep: Immersive Technology, Biometric Psychography, and the Law, 23 Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology 1 (2021).

Reimagining Reality: Human Rights and Immersive Technology, Harvard Carr CenteCarr Discussion Paper Series, 2020-008, June 12, 2020.

We Need A 9-11 For the MetaverseThe Information (2022).

VR is Failing the Very People it Could Benefit Most, The Information (2022).


Journal Articles
May 2023

Coca-Cola Curses: Hate Speech in a Post-Colonial Context

cover link Coca-Cola Curses: Hate Speech in a Post-Colonial Context