Aspen Tech Policy Hub Fellows Release Interactive Projects Proposing Innovating Tech Policy Approaches

October 10, 2019

Fellows are presenting their projects at the Aspen Institute’s D.C. headquarters on Thursday, Oct. 10, as part of the Aspen Tech Policy Hub D.C. Demo Day event


Contacts:
John Perrino
[email protected]

Jon Purves
The Aspen Institute
[email protected] 

San Francisco, CA, October 10, 2019 ­­– The Aspen Tech Policy Hub, a West Coast-based Aspen Institute policy incubator for distinguished entrepreneurs and engineers, announced the first six projects from the organization’s inaugural class of distinguished fellows. 

The interactive projects cover a number of topics ranging from a loophole in the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), to defining tech buzzwords, data-driven school safety in Florida, digital ad buying systems and the technology industry gender gap. The projects range from toolkits and operational plans to videos and mock regulatory language.

Fellows will present their projects at the Aspen Institute’s D.C. headquarters on Thursday, Oct. 10, as part of the Aspen Tech Policy Hub D.C. Demo Day event.

October 2019 Aspen Tech Policy Hub Projects

Below are summaries of the first six projects released by Aspen Tech Policy Hub fellows. Learn more at https://www.aspentechpolicyhub.org/projects/

Rethinking Probabilistic Identifiers for CA Privacy Law.
By: Aloni Cohen
Cohen proposes new regulatory language to account for a significant loophole in theCalifornia Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) scheduled to go into effect January 2020. As written, the CCPA does not cover certain data (known as probabilistic identifiers) that can be used to identify consumers, even when individual data points might not allow those conclusions to be drawn. Cohen, who recently completed his Ph.D. in computer science from MIT proposes new language to take into account these failures.

Tech Buzzwords
By: Erica Greene and Alex Rosenblat
Current debates over the impact of technology on society are clouded with metaphors, rhetoric and buzzwords that create a barrier to entry for informed conversations. In order to include more people in these important policy conversations, the Tech Buzzwords Dictionary provides a digital resource for all of the confusing, funny and problematic rhetoric that floats around Silicon Valley. Definitions are sourced from technologists, academics and policymakers to help create a common understanding to create a common language for important issues. Greene is a software engineer and data scientist who has worked at The New York Times, Etsy and Jigsaw. Rosenblat is an author, technology ethnographer and Research Lead at Data & Society. 

Data-Driven School Safety Systems in Florida.
By: Ora Tanner & Erica Greene
A state legislated central database called the Florida Schools Safety Portal (FSSP) pulls student information from disparate data sets in order to flag warning signs in students who may consider undertaking mass shootings. This project provides an interactive toolkit, including advocacy materials, a video, an operational plan, and an op-ed, in order to prevent ill effects of this new database. Their project recommends that procedures be established to prevent biases against student groups that are disproportionately impacted by digital surveillance and increased policing, as well as guidelines that will maintain transparency as to how the FSSP will continue to operate. Tanner received a master’s in physics from the University of Southern Florida and Greene earned a master’s in computer science from the University of Southern California. 

Programmatic Ad Supply Chain Auditing Platform.
By: Amina Asim
Over the past several years, ad-buying has shifted from traditional methods to “programmatic advertising,” using software to buy and sell ads. Driving these shifts are tech giants like Facebook and Google that have seen a dramatic increase in their ad revenue. At the same time, newsrooms across the U.S. have seen declining profits. Asim, who holds a Ph.D. in transnational media modeling from Northwestern University and is a former data scientist at the U.S. Agency for Global Media, argues that this has led to reduced newsroom staffing and other adverse impacts on newsgathering. Her project presents a framework for auditing the current advertising supply chain in order to understand its impact on the journalism ecosystem. In particular, the project focuses on advertisement fraud and its effects on audience trust.

Hopper Tech Media Lab: Tech policy is a women’s issue.
By: Elizabeth Ruiz
It is widely known that there is an immense gender gap in the technology sector. Ruiz, a management consultant specializing in analytics and organization strategy at Deloitte Consulting LLP, created the Hopper Tech Media Lab (HTML) to fill a gap in the ecosystem for tech women at work. Ruiz recommends an approach to measure and assess gender diversity data, helping companies understand the impact of their progress and develop strategies to achieve gender parity, including resources to empower women to develop tailored career strategies.

The Aspen Tech Policy Hub is a West Coast policy incubator, training a new generation of tech policy entrepreneurs. We take tech experts, teach them the policy process through an in-residence fellowship program in the Bay Area, and encourage them to develop outside-the-box solutions to society’s problems. We model ourselves after tech incubators like Y-Combinator, but train new policy thinkers and focus the impact of their ideas. For more information, please visit https://www.aspentechpolicyhub.org.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

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