Technology and Delegation, Fall 2016
Note: See Technology and Delegation, Fall 2017 for an updated version of this syllabus
This is the syllabus for the Fall 2016 Technology and Delegation Lab, taught by Deirdre K. Mulligan (dmulligan@berkeley) and Nick Doty (npdoty@ischool).
- Class meeting
- Tuesday and Thursday 2:00-3:30 PM; 205 South Hall
- Office hours
- Deirdre: Thursday 3:30-5:00, 303b South Hall
- Nick: by appointment, South Hall or nearby coffee shops
Technology is often put forth as inevitable progress toward modernization and as a value-neutral means for implementing the policies of law, agency rules, or corporate planning. The introduction of technology increasingly delegates responsibility for some function — sensing, sensemaking, deciding, acting — to technical actors. These handoffs of function between people, processes and technologies are rarely as inconsequential as they are initially made out to be. Often these shifts reduce traditional forms of transparency—as black boxes embed rules and make decisions less visible—and challenge traditional methods for accountability.
Meanwhile, policymakers are asking those who design technology to build-in values such as privacy and fairness—handing off some responsibility for their expression and protection. It is rarely a simple case of a function being handed wholesale from people to technology, or one technology to another; but rather a complicated interleaving in which a value is shaped and constrained by multiple modes of regulation.
We will draw on a wide range of literature, including: design, science and technology studies, computer science, law, and ethics, as well as primary sources in policy, standards and source code. We will explore the interaction between technical design and values including: privacy, accessibility, fairness, and freedom of expression. We will investigate approaches to identifying the value implications of technical designs and use methods and tools for intentionally building in values at the outset. And we will be not only critical, but also constructive: this lab will give us a hands-on opportunity to try out technologies for ourselves and experiment with building alternatives that address rights and values.
First, we will look at the theory and examples of the effects of technological delegation on public policy values; next, we will review and test the practices, tools and methodologies to design for values we care about; and finally, we will consider some ongoing case studies to discover what affirmative agenda or common principles we can elicit for embedding values in design.
Typically, Tuesday meetings will be discussions based on the readings and Thursday meetings more lab exercises, but this will vary.
Week 0: Introduction
- Thursday, August 24th
We will introduce the content and methods of the course, and introduce ourselves to one another.
Read, or skim over if you've read it before:
- Winner, Langdon. "Do Artifacts Have Politics?" Daedalus, Vol. 109, No. 1, Modern Technology: Problem or Opportunity? (Winter, 1980), pp. 121-136 The MIT Press on behalf of American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Week 1: Artifacts and Politics
- Tuesday, August 30th; Thursday, September 1st
- Latour, Bruno, "The Moral Dilemmas of a Safety-belt"
- Berman, Jerry, and Daniel J. Weitzner. “Abundance and User Control: Renewing the Democratic Heart of the First Amendment in the Age of Interactive Media.” The Yale Law Journal 104, no. 7 (1995): 1619–37. doi:10.2307/797026.
- “Fahrenheit 451.2: Is Cyberspace Burning?” ACLU. August 1997.
- RFC 7725: An HTTP Status Code to Report Legal Obstacles. Edited by Tim Bray. February 2016.
- browsing the Web, a poor man’s overview of Internet and Web architecture
Week 2: What Things Regulate
- Tuesday, September 6th; Thursday, September 8th
- Lessig, Larry, Code, Chapter 7: "What Things Regulate"
- Surden, Harry, Structural Rights in Privacy. SMU Law Review, Vol. 60, pp. 1605-1629, 2007.
- Shah, Rajiv C., and Jay P. Kesan. "Manipulating the governance characteristics of code." info 5.4 (2003): 3-9.
- Let’s try out Tor! And some other self-help privacy browser tools. (To what threat models do they apply?)
- What is #torstrike? (tw: sexual assault)
- Install Tor Browser on your laptop, or Orfox on your Android device.
- What's another privacy self-help tool that you've used?
Week 3: How Things Regulate
- Tuesday, September 13th; Thursday, September 15th
- Brownsword, Roger. "Lost in translation: Legality, regulatory margins, and technological management." Berkeley Technology Law Journal 26.3 (2011): 1321-1365.
- Mulligan, Deirdre K., John Han, and Aaron J. Burstein. "How DRM-based content delivery systems disrupt expectations of personal use." Proceedings of the 3rd ACM workshop on Digital rights management. ACM, 2003.
- Cohen, Julie E., "Pervasively Distributed Copyright Enforcement". Georgetown Law Journal, Vol. 95, 2006 SECTIONS I and IV ONLY.
- Explore a current content delivery system. Look at TOS/EULA, controls, affordances, defaults, etc. Consider in light of the readings.
Week 4: Code and Standards
- Tuesday, September 20th; Thursday, September 22nd
- Ford, Paul. “What is code?” (Be sure to skim over the issues list as well.)
- The Tao of IETF, November 2012 (which obsoletes RFC4677, which obsoleted RFC3160, which obsoleted RFC1718, which obsoleted RFC1539, which obsoleted RFC1391, published in 1993).
- HTML5 (read the table of contents and skim over a few sections; don’t try to read it all.) "Wait, which version should we read?" You could also skim over the Living Standard of HTML at WHATWG.
- Doty, Nick, and Deirdre K. Mulligan. 2013. “Internet Multistakeholder Processes and Techno-Policy Standards: Initial Reflections on Privacy at the World Wide Web Consortium”. Journal on Telecommunications and High Technology Law 11.
- Let's pick an ongoing standard-setting conversation and try to understand it.
Week 5: Democracy, Transparency, Due Process
- Tuesday, September 27th; Thursday, September 29th
- Freeman, Jody. "Private parties, public functions and the new administrative law." Administrative Law Review (2000): 813-858.
- Hall J.L., "Contractual Barriers to Transparency in Electronic Voting", In Proceedings of the 2nd USENIX/ACCURATE Electronic Voting Technology Workshop (EVT'07), 2007.
- "Legal issues facing election officials in an Electronic-voting world", Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic University of California-Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). Read § I, II and III.
- Stuart, G., "Databases, Felons, and Voting: Errors and Bias in the Florida Felons Exclusion List in the 2000 Presidential Elections" (September 2002). KSG Working Paper Series RWP 02-041. Read pp. 22-40
- We'll look at voting irregularities. See:
- specifically look at Alameda County machines, since most of us will be voting on those in November
- Sequoia Voting Systems machines explanation, from Secretary of State
- Secretary of State on de-certifying voting machines
- Citron, Danielle Keats, Technological Due Process. U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2007-26; Washington University Law Review, Vol. 85, pp. 1249-1313, 2007. READ § I.A., II.B.2, III.C.2. (Access through UC Berkeley proxy.)
Week 6: Values in Design
- Tuesday, October 4th; Thursday, October 6th
- Nissenbaum, Helen. "Values in technical design." Encyclopedia of science, technology, and ethics (2005): 66-70.
- Shilton, Katie, Jes A. Koepfler, and Kenneth R. Fleischmann. "How to see values in social computing: methods for studying values dimensions." Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work & social computing. ACM, 2014.
- Knobel, Cory, and Geoffrey C. Bowker. "Values in design." Communications of the ACM 54.7 (2011): 26-28.
- Friedman, Batya, et al. "Value sensitive design and information systems." in Early engagement and new technologies: Opening up the laboratory. Springer Netherlands, 2013. 55-95. Read pages 85-87.
- Let’s use mitmproxy and do some forensic analysis.
Week 7: Privacy Assessments
- Tuesday, October 11th; Thursday, October 13th
Sean Brooks (NIST) to join us.
- Cooper, A., Tschofenig, H., Aboba, B., Peterson, J., Morris, J., Hansen, M., Smith Janet, R. RFC6973 Privacy Considerations for Internet Protocols. 2013.
- Doty, Nick. “Reviewing for Privacy in Internet and Web Standard-Setting.” International Workshop on Privacy Engineering; May 21, 2015.
- Department of Homeland Security. Privacy Impact Assessment template. Introduction and the Template (just skim, no need to print this out).
- National Institute of Standards and Technology. Ed.: Sean Brooks and Ellen Nadeau. NISTIR 8062 (Draft): Privacy Risk Management for Federal Information Systems. May 2015.
- Deirdre K. Mulligan, Colin Koopman and Nick Doty. “Privacy is an Essentially Contested Concept: A Multidimensional Analytic for Mapping Privacy.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical & Engineering Sciences, forthcoming (2016-2017). (Pre-print available in Slack channel.)
- As a small group, take one of these decisional tools and a spec or product and apply the review process.
Week 8: Design Thinking
- Tuesday, October 18th; Thursday, October 20th
Richmond Wong to join us.
- Sengers, Phoebe, Kirsten Boehner, Shay David, and Joseph “Jofish” Kaye. 2005. “Reflective Design.” In Proceedings of the 4th Decennial Conference on Critical Computing: Between Sense and Sensibility, 49–58. CC ’05. New York, NY, USA: ACM.
- Dunne, Anthony, and Fiona Raby. 2001. Design Noir: The Secret Life of Electronic Objects. Springer Science & Business Media. Section 4.
- Sims, Christo. "The Politics of Design, Design as Politics", forthcoming. (Pre-print available in Slack channel.)
- Using “design noir” and design thinking to generate and explore project ideas.
Week 9: Collaboration & Governance
- Tuesday, October 25th; Thursday, October 27th
- Centivany, Alissa, and Bobby Glushko. "'Popcorn Tastes Good': Participatory Policymaking and Reddit's' Amageddon'." Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’16), San Jose, CA. 2016.
- O’Mahony, Siobhán, and Beth A. Bechky. 2008. “Boundary Organizations: Enabling Collaboration among Unexpected Allies.” Administrative Science Quarterly 53 (3): 422–59. doi:10.2189/asqu.53.3.422.
- Karl Fogel. Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project. “Chapter 4. Social and Political Infrastructure” (and skim over the table of contents)
- Let’s get up to speed with git and GitHub. (Set up an account if you don’t have one already.) We will also use the time to talk about groups and group projects.
Week 10: Human Rights / Which Values?
- Tuesday, November 1st; Thursday, November 3rd
- Koops, Bert-Jaap. "Criteria for Normative Technology: An Essay on the Acceptability of 'Code as Law' in Light of Democratic and Constitutional Values." REGULATING TECHNOLOGIES, Brownsword & Yeung, eds (2007): 157-174. § 4-7 ONLY
- United Nations. Guiding principles on business and human rights: implementing the United Nations" protect, respect and remedy" framework. UN. pp. 13-22
- Niels ten Oever and Corinne Cath. Research into Human Rights Protocol Considerations. Human Rights Protocol Considerations Research Group. 2016.
- “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.” December 2008.
- Dombrowski, Lynn, Ellie Harmon, and Sarah Fox. "Social Justice-Oriented Interaction Design: Outlining Key Design Strategies and Commitments." Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems. ACM, 2016.
- Let’s experiment with screenreaders.
Week 11: Tools in Action
- Tuesday, November 8th; Thursday, November 10th
- No new Readings!
- Please review Cooper; DHS; and NIST tools from week 7
Week 12: Design Responses to Harassment
- Tuesday, November 15th; Thursday, November 17th
- Bowler, Leanne, Cory Knobel, and Eleanor Mattern. "From cyberbullying to well‐being: A narrative‐based participatory approach to values‐oriented design for social media." Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 66.6 (2015): 1274-1293. Read 8-20 START AT HEADING "THE CYBERBULLYING NARRATIVES"
- Geiger, R. Stuart. “Bot-Based Collective Blocklists in Twitter: The Counterpublic Moderation of Harassment in a Networked Public Space.” Information, Communication & Society 19, no. 6 (June 2, 2016): 787–803. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2016.1153700.
- We'll review Blocktogether and the source code behind ggautoblocker and other blocklists.
- Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, by Danielle Keats Citron, September 2014.
- Gillespie, Tarleton. "The politics of ‘platforms’." New Media & Society 12.3 (2010): 347-364.
Week 13: Fairness
- Tuesday, November 22nd; [no Thursday class, Thanksgiving]
- Ziewitz, Malte. 2011. "How to think about an algorithm: Notes from a not quite random walk".
- Introna, Lucas D. "Algorithms, governance, and governmentality on governing academic writing." Science, Technology & Human Values, January 2016, Vol. 41. Read pp. 25-30, from "The Supposed Power of Algorithms, or, Why They Concern Us?" up to "Algorithms, Governmentality, and Academic Writing".
- Kroll, Joshua A. and Huey, Joanna and Barocas, Solon and Felten, Edward W. and Reidenberg, Joel R. and Robinson, David G. and Yu, Harlan, "Accountable Algorithms" (March 2, 2016). University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 165, 2017 Forthcoming.
- Neyland, Daniel, and Norma Möllers. "Algorithmic IF… THEN rules and the conditions and consequences of power." Information, Communication & Society (2016).
- Koponen, Jarno M. 2015. “We Need Algorithmic Angels.” Techcrunch.
- Ananny, Mike. "Toward an Ethics of Algorithms Convening, Observation, Probability, and Timeliness." Science, Technology & Human Values 41.1 (2016): 93-117.
- Neyland, Daniel. "Bearing account-able witness to the ethical algorithmic system." Science, Technology & Human Values 41.1 (2016): 50-76. All
- Cecilia Munoz, Megan Smith, and DJ Patil. Big data: A report on algorithmic systems, opportunity, and civil rights. Technical report, Executive Office of the President, The White House, 2016.
- See the results of the “Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency in Machine Learning” event: http://www.fatml.org/
Week 14: Ethics & Profession
- Tuesday, November 29th; Thursday, December 1st
Anna Lauren Hoffmann and Luke Stark to join us.
- Jean-François Bonnefon, Azim Shariff, Iyad Rahwan. “The social dilemma of autonomous vehicles”. June 2016. Science 24: 1573-1576
- Some sample codes of ethics:
- No class meeting, but attend the Algorithms & Culture conference going on at that time.
Week 15 (RRR): Project Presentations
- Tuesday, December 6th
This is a 3-unit class. Meetings each week will include seminar-style discussion, lab-style exercises, and collaborative design and technical work. Readings should be read carefully. Throughout the semester students will complete short writing assignments, lead class discussions, and critique artifacts during the semester. During the second half of the semester students will work collaboratively in teams of 2-4 on a larger design-oriented final project.
Your grade is based on class participation 15% and assignments 85%. This class is designed to hone your critical inquiry skills. You are expected to fully participate—present, actively listen, engage with your classmates and the materials, bring your own insights to the discussion, share your experience and knowledge. Please come prepared to argue, explain, revise, borrow, refine, and of course junk your ideas. Thinking out loud is encouraged. This is how one learns. The success of this class depends upon student’s diligent preparation and active participation—listening, speaking, designing, building—in class. Readings will be assigned throughout the semester. Everyone is expected to read and reflect on the readings.
Assignments account for the remainder of your grade. They will be graded primarily on substance, however a minimal portion of each grade will reflect organizational clarity, grammar, and presentation style as appropriate. The assignments are staggered throughout the semester.
1. Discussion Leads 10% At least once during the semester, you and a partner will be selected to lead the class discussion of the weekly readings. While each student is expected to engage in class discussions, which counts towards the class participation grade, the students assigned students will be expected to prepare a set of questions to frame the discussion, and to lead and moderate the conversation.
2. Critical Reflections 30% Critical reflections are an invitation to apply both the theoretical and practical learning from the course to new problems. They are designed to develop your skills as readers--critiquing, building upon, relating various pieces we read. Reflection pieces should synthesize readings and ideas from class discussion, and use the resulting insights to analyze an issue or object of interest to you, critique readings, or anything else you would like. The requirements of the writing are small in number, you must 1) seriously engage with the readings (could be 1 could be 2 could be more); and 2) write about something that interests you.
Do not, under any circumstances, provide a summary of the articles. You've read them. We've read them. We know you've read them. The form is in between short essay and journal entry. This is a playful style. We want to get a sense of what you are taking away from the class and what sorts of thoughts, ideas, questions it is raising for you. 2-4 normal pages typed.
Because we think this form of writing is most successful when it originates organically with you, the deadlines are looser:
- the first is due sometime in weeks 1-3 (by Saturday, September 17th);
- the second in weeks 4-6 (by Saturday, October 8th); and,
- the third anytime before December 3rd.
3. Critiques 10% The second half of the semester we will begin each class with a student led critique of an information or physical artifact. The students assigned (teams of 2) will select an interface, object, algorithm, design, instructable, kickstarter, toy, etc. and offer a brief—3 slides 5 min—critique that introduces the item and reflects on its values implications drawing on class readings and assignments up to that point. The class will then collectively critique the artifact.
4. Final Project 35% During the second half of the semester students will work collaboratively in teams of 2-4 on a larger design-oriented final project.
Late assignments will be penalized: each day an assignment is late will result in a half a grade deduction. Recognizing that emergencies arise, exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Scheduling: Use this spreadsheet to choose which week you'll be a discussion lead and when you'll do a design critique.
Academic integrity for this course depends on clear citation of ideas, text and code. At this level, we harbor no romantic illusions that work is born whole from your mind alone; instead, we want you to engage with the assigned readings and ideas you connect from other classes or the world around you, and to make those connections clear. Programmers often copy-paste code or re-use libraries in order to build upon the shoulders of giants without reinventing the wheel. This is encouraged, but we expect students to be careful in their assignments to note what they wrote themselves and to attribute code snippets and libraries to their original authors.
Class projects for the purpose of learning are typically exempt from Berkeley’s Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (our Institutional Review Board) review. However, if you are conducting a research project that might result in publishable work (and many of you may!), keep in mind that UCB policy and publication venues will typically require you to have gone through the IRB process even if it is to receive an exemption. In addition, being exempt from IRB review does not mean that you are somehow exempt from ethical norms or that you wouldn’t benefit from advice or review. Feel free to come to the instructors for advice on a project which involves intervention with, data collection, or use of data about, human subjects.