Citizen Technologist

The CTSP Blog

Introducing CTSP’s Inaugural Collaborative Projects & Fellows

By Galen PangerNick Doty, CTSP Co-Directors  |  Permalink

We are extremely pleased to announce the selection of 11 collaborative projects and to welcome 28 fellows to the Center for our inaugural year. We received a total of 50 proposals from over 125 collaborators and were impressed by the diversity of ideas and teams, and the potential they hold to make a difference.

The 11 projects we selected, however, stood out for their focus and ambition, for their potential to advance the state of affairs in our four areas, and for their ability to speak to larger, not solely academic, audiences. From investigating how technology can amplify existing social biases to understanding users’ views of algorithmic decision-making, these projects will tackle important issues with smart, practical approaches.

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Should Facebook watch out for our well-being?

By Galen Panger, CTSP | Permalink

Last year, when Facebook published the results of its emotional contagion experiment, it triggered a firestorm of criticism in the press and launched a minor cottage industry within academia around the ethical gray areas of Big Data research. What should count as ‘informed consent’ in massive experiments like Facebook’s? What are the obligations of Internet services to seek informed consent when experimentally intervening in the lives, emotions and behaviors of their users? Is there only an obligation when they want to publish in academic journals? These are not easy questions.

Perhaps more importantly, what are the obligations of these Internet services to users and their well-being more broadly?
 

Facebook's Infection

Credit: ‘Facebook’s Infection’ by ksayer1

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Miscalculating the risk of crypto “backdoors”

By Deirdre K. Mulligan, Associate Professor | Permalink | Cross-posted from the Christian Science Monitor

As Britain continues to debate its revised Investigatory Powers bill, which opponents deride as the “snoopers’ charter,” it seems increasingly evident that Prime Minister David Cameron is lockstep with many US law enforcement officials when it comes to the encryption debate.

While Mr. Cameron’s government claims that the bill doesn’t mandate so-called “backdoors” into encryption on consumer devices, the bill suggests otherwise. It currently states that communication service providers must maintain the capability to remove “electronic protection” they apply to protect communications or data.

Sounds familiar, right? FBI Director James Comey recently testified that the FBI is working with the tech sector (which has publicly opposed weakening encryption standards) to find ways to decrypt communications so that investigators can more easily access it during criminal or terrorist investigations.

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A Pledge of Ethics for I School Graduates

By Robyn Perry, I School MIMS ’15 | Permalink

When you hear about Volkswagen engineers cheating emissions tests, or face recognition software that can’t “see” Black people, you start to wonder who is in charge here. Or more to the point, who is to blame?

Well, I just graduated from UC Berkeley’s School of Information Master of Information Management and Systems program (MIMS for short). My colleagues and I are the kind of people that are going to be making decisions about this stuff in all sorts of industries.

This post is about one way we might hold ourselves accountable to an ethical standard that we agree to by means of a pledge.

As you might imagine, we spend a significant part of our coursework thinking about how people think about technology, how people use technology, and how what we design can do a better job of not destroying the world.

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Participants from 26 departments and organizations attend #CTSPhackathon

By Galen Panger, CTSP | Permalink

On Saturday, we welcomed 42 participants from 26 departments and organizations to the CTSP Proposal Hackathon, the Center’s first official event and the kick-off for our annual request for proposals, which opened today for applications.

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A virtual/in-person reading group on garbage, hate and harassment

By Nick Doty, CTSP | Permalink

Key to maintaining free expression on the Internet is understanding and responding to the hate, harassment and abuse that the communications network also delivers. This challenge isn’t new, but it has become more apparent recently. Responses to descriptions of the problem or how to handle it often prove the need for this kind of work.

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Introducing Citizen Technologist, the Blog

By Nick Doty & Galen Panger, CTSP Co-Directors  |  Permalink

What is a Citizen Technologist?

Increasingly, we must accept that technology is not a neutral thing, not developed apart from cultural or political ideas and not deployed in a vacuum. Technology has effects—obvious and subtle, planned and unforeseen—on our daily routines, our well-being, our communities, our jobs, our love lives and our political activities. A citizen technologist is a person who works with the intersecting effects of technical architecture, social norms, and public policy.READ MORE

Announcing the Center for Technology, Society & Policy

Cross-posted from Berkeley News  |  Permalink

The UC Berkeley School of Information is launching the Center for Technology, Society and Policy, established with seed funding from Google, to focus on engineering ethics, technology and well-being, standards and governance, and digital citizenship.

The multidisciplinary center will solicit proposals in the four areas of concentration annually, beginning this fall, for projects of around six months in length with outcomes including, but not limited to, design or engineering solutions, academic publications, regulatory proposals and public events.READ MORE