The Tech Policy Lab is a unique, interdisciplinary collaboration at the University of Washington that aims to enhance technology policy through research, education, and thought leadership. Founded in 2013 by faculty from the University’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, Information School, and School of Law, the Lab aims to bridge the gap between technologists and policymakers and to help generate wiser, more inclusive tech policy.

Our Impact

Cutting-Edge Research. This year, the Lab initiated exciting new work in areas such as adversarial machine learning and cybersecurity, mitigating bias in training datasets for natural language processing systems, the materiality of digital systems, and the prospect of intelligence gathering using advertising. We also continued work on ongoing projects such as Tech Policy Breakdowns and modeling of DNA and Internet of Things security.
Policy Impact. We had observable impacts on national and local policy. For example, our work influenced new legislation on AI, including California’s bot disclosure bill and legislation proposing the creation of a federal advisory committee for AI. Lab members have shared our research with the Congressional Research Service, national and state policymakers, and at Federal Trade Commission hearings.
Diverse Perspectives. Continuing our efforts to introduce diverse perspectives into tech policy, over the past year the Lab used our Diverse Voices process to garner feedback from non-mainstream stakeholders on the State of Washington Access to Justice Technology Principles – principles employed to guide the use and procurement of technology in the Washington state court system.
   

Read our most recent annual report

Our People

M. Ryan Calo is the Lane Powell and D. Wayne Gittinger Professor at the University of Washington School of Law and formerly a director at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society (CIS). Ryan researches the intersection of law and emerging technology, with an emphasis on robotics and the Internet.

Batya Friedman is a Professor in the Information School at the University of Washington where she co-directs the Value Sensitive Design Research Lab. Batya's research develops theory, methods, and toolkits for foregrounding human values in the design of new technologies, most recently with an emphasis on systems that will unfold over longer timeframes on the order of 100 years.

Tadayoshi (Yoshi) Kohno is a Professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. Yoshi's research is focused on understanding and improving the computer security and privacy properties of current and future technologies.


Alex is the Program Manager for the Tech Policy Lab. He has a JD from the UW School of the Law and an MPA from the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. Previously, he worked in state government and higher education in a variety of roles.  Alex is very interested in public policy and has a deep passion for UW.

Pardis is currently a postdoctoral scholar at University of Washington, working with Tadayoshi Kohno and Franziska Roesner. She received a B.Sc. degree in computer engineering from Sharif University of Technology, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). As part of her doctoral research, she developed a usable privacy and security label for smart devices to inform consumers’ Internet of Things-related purchase decisions. She was selected as a Rising Star in electrical engineering and computer science in October 2019, and awarded the CMU CyLab presidential fellowship for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Lassana Magassa is a Postdoctoral Scholar and earned a Ph.D. from the UW Information School. His research explores how different modes of social control impact people’s perceptions and uses of technology. He is also interested in understanding the effect of digital inequalities on segments of the general population.

Anna Lee Swan is a Program Specialist supporting the UW Technology & Society Task Force. She earned her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Washington, with an emphasis on gendered labor and global social media use. In her previous position, she worked on a variety of research and evaluation projects aiming to advance equity in STEM.


Emily M. Bender is a Professor of Linguistics and Adjunct Professor of Computer Science & Engineering and the University of Washington. She is the founding Faculty Director of the Professional Masters in Computational Linguistics (CLMS) program. Her research interests include computational semantics (representing human language meaning in machine-readable form), multilingual natural language processing, and technology for assisting in the documentation of endangered languages.

Alan Borning is Professor Emeritus in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.  Alan's post-retirement projects include continuing work on tools to help make public transportation more accessible, easier, and more fun to use; and on critiquing and developing alternatives to surveillance capitalism.

Howard Jay Chizeck is an Emeritus Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Washington where he co-directs the Biorobotics Laboratory. He is also a faculty member in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience. His research interests are in telerobotics and neural engineering. Robotic research includes progressive autonomy control for robots operating underwater, in space and for terrestrial applications where it is too dangerous or otherwise inadvisable to have humans perform the tasks, and the security of these systems. His neural engineering research includes adaptive stimulation control to manage movement disorders such as essential tremor, and the design and security of brain-machine interfaces.

William Covington is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Washington School of Law and directs the Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic. The students in Bill’s Clinic study the policy making process and conduct in-depth examinations of areas where public policy and technology intersect.

David G. Hendry is associate professor at The Information School, University of Washington, where he teaches courses in human-computer interaction, information system design, and foundations of information science. He investigates tools, practices, and systems that create the conditions for sustainable, inclusive participation in the design of information systems.

Joe Lott is an Associate Professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington and the co-founder and Faculty Director of the Brotherhood Initiative, which focuses on empowering undergraduate men of color in areas of leadership, wellness, innovation, and social entrepreneurship. He investigates how design-based research methods can be leveraged to address the organizational cultures of large research universities that have created the conditions for disparate graduation rates between undergraduate men of color and their peers.

Franziska (Franzi) Roesner is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. Franzi is broadly interested in issues related to computer security and privacy, particularly designing and building systems that address security and privacy challenges faced by end users of existing and emerging technologies.

Jan Whittington is an Assistant Professor of Urban Design and Planning and the director of the Urban Infrastructure Lab at the University of Washington. She studies the economics of the Internet and related physical infrastructures as platforms for the exchange of information, with effects on public trust, public services, private markets, privacy, and cybersecurity.


Jasmine is an undergraduate student at the University of Washington. She is interested in the regulation of big data, privacy and making tech equitable for all. Jasmine is a current intern for the Lab.

María P. Angel is a Ph.D. student in Law. She is interested in the intellectual history of privacy law scholarship, and believes that algorithms are pushing twenty-first century American law scholars to inadvertently propose the contours of a post-algorithmic privacy. She also works at the intersection of tech policy and Science, Technology, and Social Studies (STSS).

Stephanie is a Ph.D. student at the UW Information School. Her research is in the area of emerging technologies and technology policy. In particular, Stephanie is interested in the design of data intensive tools and corresponding regulation.

Cameron is a J.D. candidate at the School of Law. She is broadly interested in using technology and privacy to preserve and restore personal autonomy, with some focus on data security and the Fourth Amendment. Cameron's background is in empirical public policy and discrete mathematics.

Kaiming Cheng is a Ph.D. student in the Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and a member of the Security and Privacy Lab. He studies the security and privacy of Augmented/Virtual Reality. More specifically, he is interested in how will the future AR/VR system look like, what are the inheriting security and privacy flaws, and how can we protect end-user privacy.

Elias is a PhD student at the UW Information School. Elias' research explores rites of passage and liminality within the contexts of technology and design. In particular, Elias is interested in the intersection of liminal spaces and things, and the human interactions that are found there. Elias has a background in art and design, writing, and library science.

Salt is a PhD student in the Dept. of Communication at UW. He works with the Community Data Science Collective studying online peer production projects such as Linux, Scratch, and Wikipedia. Salt has a background in free/libre/open source software, information security, and community organizing.

Nick Logler is a PhD student in the Information School. He works in the value sensitive design lab exploring the spaces between our ability to build technical systems and our ability to think ethically about them. His own research is investigates how people are affected by experiences of designing, building, and making using different creative technologies.

Savannah is a J.D. candidate at the UW School of Law. Her research examines agricultural technologies and food resiliency. She is interested in the intersection of intellectual property and technology law, and has a background in analytics and digital media marketing.

Angelina McMillan-Major is a PhD student in the Linguistics Department. Angie’s research focuses on computational methodologies for low-resource language documentation and revitalization and the interaction between language, technology, and society.

Kentrell Owens is a PhD student in the Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and a member of the Security and Privacy Research Lab. He is specifically interested in the computer security and privacy needs of underserved communities. He has recently published work on web authentication, the surveillance of the communication of incarcerated people and their families, and the risks of using smartphone applications for electronic monitoring (e.g., as a condition of probation/parole).

Andrew is a Hazelton Fellow at the Tech Policy Lab and an M.J. candidate at the University of Washington School of Law. Andrew has a background in cognitive science and specializes in AI law and regulation. While broadly interested in all matters of tech policy, Andrew is most interested in exploring civil remedies for autonomous vehicle-related injuries and defamation arising from deepfake technologies.

Andrew is an intern with the Tech Policy Lab and an undergraduate student at the University of Washington studying computer science and philosophy. He is broadly interested in the ethics and regulation of emerging technology affecting minority communities, including data privacy, surveillance, and artificial intelligence. In particular, he enjoys exploring the ways in which non-Western philosophies can inform a more just and humane technological future.

Lucy is a PhD student in Computer Science & Engineering. Her research focuses on the security and privacy-related needs and practices of understudied or underserved populations, e.g. resettled refugees.

Manisha is an Undergraduate student at the Foster School of Business studying Finance and minoring in Law, Societies and Justice. She is interested in social impact and public sector consulting which allows her to learn about the intersection of higher education, economic development, and technical business background to give back to underprivileged groups. She is currently researching more about the Lab's background regarding cultural changes in artificial intelligence to assist with branding strategies.

Rian is a PhD Candidate in the Communication Department studying Science, Technology, and Society. She is researching the ramifications of the rise of AI/ML in the agricultural sector. She focuses on policy, regulatory, and design efforts to ensure that programmatic platforms are implemented in ethical, sustainable, and transparent ways.

Miranda Wei is a PhD student in the Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and a member of the Security and Privacy Lab. She studies user-centered security and privacy, particularly systematic factors such as gender and collectivity. Miranda is broadly interested in supporting users' agency and control over their own data.

Zoe is a J.D. candidate at the UW School of Law. She has a background in computer science and is interested in the social implications of human-robot interaction and how law enforcement uses technology.


Our Funders

The Tech Policy Lab receives support from the following organizations, including a generous founding gift from Microsoft in 2013.

 

Challenge Seattle
City of Seattle
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Knight Foundation
MacArthur Foundation
Microsoft
National Science Foundation IIS-1621492
Rose Foundation Consumer Privacy Rights Fund
Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Fund

 

Research at the Tech Policy Lab is driven exclusively by faculty interest. The Tech Policy Lab seeks to produce impartial research and educational materials around technology policy. Given this goal, the Tech Policy Lab does not take research money from corporations or other private donors with strings attached. All private donors freely agree to give funds as unrestricted gifts, for which there is no contractual agreement and no promised products, results, or deliverables of any kind. Government and foundation grants also follow appropriate protocols to ensure neutrality.