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 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 Associate 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 the Short-Dooley Professor 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.

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.

Howard Jay Chizeck is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering 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, including haptic navigation and control for robotic surgery and for underwater devices, as well as security of telerobotic systems 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.

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.

Jennifer Aronson is a J.D. Candidate at the University of Washington School of Law. Prior to law school, Jennifer worked at a research institute at the University of Texas Austin studying issues affecting military families, such as telehealth services in underserved rural areas and technology-assisted cognitive training.  She is interested in free speech and fourth amendment issues within privacy law, ethics in technology, and data science for social good.

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.

Ivan Evtimov is a PhD student in the Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. As a member of the Security and Privacy Lab, he studies the security of machine learning algorithms. In particular, Ivan is interested in how deep neural networks applied in the real world might fail if their inputs are modified in unexpected or malicious ways and in the policy implications of such threats.

Mike Katell is a Ph.D. student at the UW Information School. His interests include privacy, surveillance, and the commercial use of data collected about individuals. He has a specific interest in the aspects of trust and dependence inherent in the use of emerging technologies.

Kiron Lebeck is a Ph.D. student in the Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. He is broadly interested in emerging consumer technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, with an eye towards the security and privacy challenges they present.

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.

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

Peter Ney is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science & Engineering. He is a member of the Security and Privacy Lab, where he works to measure surveillance and build secure systems that enhance user privacy. He is also interested in studying the privacy impacts of machine learning and biosecurity.

Audrey is an undergraduate student at Vanderbilt University, studying Women’s and Gender Studies, Anthropology, and Political Theory. In particular, she is interested in humanoid robotics and the interplay between identity and technology in a modern world. Following her graduation, she hopes to attend law school and eventually pursue a career in academia.

Anna Kornfeld Simpson is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science. She is interested in building secure systems that offer users more control over their privacy, and believes an understanding of policy is essential for making these systems secure and effective.

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.

Meg is a Ph.D. student in the Information School. Her research explores the privacy implications of data aggregation, currently focusing on third-party data aggregation ecosystems. She is also interested in tech activist communities who create and promote the use of encryption tools.

Hayley Younghusband is a Research Assistant at the Tech Policy Lab. She is an undergraduate student at the UW with an intended major in Computer Science.

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
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.