July 7, 2016
Ernesto Falcon's web site states his occupation boldly and succinctly: "I defend the Internet." Ernesto, '15, sees this as his mission, and he pursued law degree at McGeorge to make him an even stronger advocate for Internet openness. Ernesto currently works at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) as Legislative Counsel.
Ernesto completed the unique McGeorge Capital Lawyering program, and he uses those skills in his current work. Recently, Falcon testified against
AB-2880, a bill "giving California complete copyright authorization over public records,"
during an Assembly committee hearing in April 2016. The McGeorge alumni community
is interconnected; Robert Callahan, '13, is the California Executive Director of The
Internet Association, an organization that also pledged opposition to AB 2880 at the
same hearing. Both alumni took the course CA Lobbying & Politics with Rex Frazier,
'00, while they were students at McGeorge. Falcon worked on AB-100, a bill that would create a California Law Fellowship Program, in the McGeorge
Legislative and Public Policy Clinic.
After completing his undergraduate degree, Ernesto spent eight years in Washington, D.C. He worked for six years as a congressional aide and for two years as a consumer advocate for the non-profit Public Knowledge, where he handled political strategy.
"I was fortunate to be involved in some major campaigns that impacted the openness of the Internet," he says. He helped lead, for example, a 2011 lobbying campaign against AT&T's merger with T-Mobile and the 2012 lobbying campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
Ernesto knew law school was the logical next step for him when, he says, "I started to recognize the disadvantages of not having a law degree in advocating on issues impacting online free speech rights, copyright law, and antitrust issues."
McGeorge was a good choice because of its location in California's capital. "I am very interested in public service; in fact, I did a summer internship for the Governor's Office of Planning and Research on California broadband policy," Ernesto says.
After his first year at McGeorge, Ernesto worked for Google as one of a small number of law school interns examining the question, 'How do we connect the next 5 billion people to the Internet?'
Ernesto's answer? "The path will be significantly different than for the first 2 billion on the Internet," he says. "It will mostly be wireless, will depend on advances in energy distribution, and will need governments to adopt supportive policies."
Ernesto hopes to continue answering this question throughout his career. He served as the Student Bar Association (SBA) President during his last year at McGeorge.
"I have enjoyed coming back to my home state and I have made a lot of friends at McGeorge," he says. "They are going to change lives for the better with the intense education they are receiving, and I am enjoying being part of their journey."
The Recorder interviewed Ernesto on April 18, 2016, "EFF Aide Talks Telecom, Encryption-and Partisan Gridlock."