Women of Distinction 2018 Spotlight: Carrie Goldberg, J.D.
Get to Know the 2018 NCCWSL Women of Distinction
Name: Carrie Goldberg, J.D.
Occupation: Founder, C.A. Goldberg PLLC
Education: Vassar College; Juris Doctor, Brooklyn Law School
When Carrie Goldberg, J.D., started her career as a young lawyer in Brooklyn, New York, online harassment and sexual consent laws were not on her radar — but when a former partner blackmailed Goldberg using explicit photos she had shared during their relationship, Goldberg found herself learning more about those laws than she had ever expected. Goldberg discovered that there were few options for victims of such incidents within a judicial system that is still ill-equipped for the digital age and struggled to find anyone to take her claims seriously; she was even told by police that her former partner’s threats were “not a criminal issue.” In 2014, after her former partner received a restraining order, Goldberg decided to turn her pain into power and founded C.A. Goldberg, PLLC, a firm dedicated to fighting for internet privacy, domestic violence, and sexual consent law. “That way,” she said of her decision, “I could be the lawyer I’d needed.”
Sexual harassment is not a new concept, and though its execution and repercussions have changed dramatically with the rise of technology and social media, laws regarding illicit behavior online have yet to catch up. Goldberg is fighting for change one case at a time. Her law firm is one of only a handful of firms throughout the country that specialize in what is known legally as “nonconsensual porn” and in popular culture as “revenge porn,” defined as distributing someone’s intimate photos, videos, or other images without that person’s consent and with the knowledge that one does not have the right to do so.
From the start of her career Goldberg has focused on protecting the rights of those lost in our justice system. She took night classes from Brooklyn Law School to earn her law degree while working as a case manager for Holocaust survivors and victims of violence under the Nazi regime at Selfhelp Community Services. In 2006 she joined the Vera Institute of Justice as the associate director of legal services and worked with underserved and marginalized people as well as those harmed by crime and violence. It was during that stage of her career that Goldberg was subject to distribution of revenge porn and online harassment — and when she was inspired to found her firm with only the money from her unused vacation days at Vera.
Since opening her firm Goldberg has fought for the removal of more than 18,000 explicit photographs and videos posted without consent; managed the removal and online moderation of images of celebrities targeted by hackers; provided effective law enforcement advocacy; helped secure the arrests of offenders; and submitted six Title IX complaints to the U.S. Department of Justice, all of which resulted in investigations. In efforts to hold social media platforms accountable for harassment and abuse occurring on their websites, she has brought a suit against Grindr, a gay dating app, and negotiated a six-figure settlement against a major tech company. She currently represents three young underage girls in cases against the New York Department of Education who were unfairly punished for reporting their sexual assault.
Goldberg also focuses on policy and public education. Through her work with the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, of which Goldberg is a founding director, Goldberg works to educate the courts, lawmakers, and the public about online sexual harassment and abuse and advocates for legislation to address online abuse. Goldberg is also pushing for greater accountability on social media platforms by collaborating with the tech industry to find design-based solutions to online harassment and abuse.
Goldberg is helping to shape the future of technology and online safety. Hear more about how she took back control and became a legal trailblazer at NCCWSL.