Technology's Impact on Our Lives

June 27th, 2016 / Development Com...

CITP bootcamp students meet with MicrosoftParticipants in the CITP boot camp trip to Washington, DC, discussed security issues with representatives from Microsoft.

Participants in the CITP boot camp trip to Washington, DC, discussed security issues with representatives from Microsoft.

“The Center for Information Technology Policy has a singular ability both to make technology issues accessible to a broader community and to provide grounded technical analysis of important policy questions.” 

—Professor of Computer Science Nick Feamster, acting director of CITP

Digital technology has become essential for personal communication, getting the news, banking, shopping, and countless routine transactions. As our reliance on technological devices grows, however, pressing questions emerge: How do we define privacy online? Who has access to our data—and how will they use it? How do we prevent cyber attacks? 

Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP) is uniquely equipped to address these urgent public policy concerns. A joint venture of the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, it is the only center of its kind rooted in academic computer science and engineering. The center supports research on the impact of digital technology on society, and emphasizes educating the next generation of tech-savvy policy makers and technologists who understand the ramifications of policy and will build that knowledge into the design of software and devices. 

Bridging Technology and Policy

Jennifer Rexford with studentJennifer Rexford ’91 (left), the Gordon Y. S. Wu Professor in Engineering and chair of the computer science department, focuses on computer networking, with the goal of making future networks easier to design and manage.

Jennifer Rexford ’91 (left), the Gordon Y. S. Wu Professor in Engineering and chair of the computer science department, focuses on computer networking, with the goal of making future networks easier to design and manage.

Since 2005, CITP has provided research, education, and expertise to broaden and deepen understanding of technology policy. Its inaugural director, Edward Felten, the Robert E. Kahn Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs, currently serves as the US Deputy Chief Technology Officer. The center brings together computer scientists, engineers, journalists, lawyers, and sociologists to collaborate with students on potential solutions to critical technology policy issues. 

The research conducted by the center’s faculty is extremely influential in the formation of government policy regarding issues of data security, privacy, consumer protection, freedom of information and access to data, and the protection of civil liberties. 

  • CITP Acting Director Nick Feamster advises the Federal Communications Commission on its Measuring Broadband America program. 
  • Sociology Professor Matthew Salganik worked with students to develop All Our Ideas, a tool that collects social data through online, adaptive, crowd-sourced surveys. The tool has been used by organizations including the United Nations and Wikipedia. 
  • Arvind Narayanan, assistant professor of computer science, leads the Princeton Web Transparency and Accountability Project (WebTAP) that has developed OpenWPM, an open-source platform for measuring online privacy. 

Weekly luncheons, a regular lecture series, and other special events tackle topics that range from helping consumers make financial decisions using interactive technologies to the implications of artificial intelligence.

CITP has many connections to Washington, DC, including a strong alumni network, and faculty members and fellows who work with the government on various projects. Each year CITP leads a trip to the nation’s capital, where undergraduates learn about technology policy from experts in corporate, government, nonprofit, and journalism organizations. 

Expanding the Possibilities

As the critical need for research, education, and leadership on technology policy continues to grow, CITP seeks to:

  • Expand opportunities for student research projects.
  • Attract postdoctoral fellows to conduct research and share their expertise with undergraduates.
  • Add internship funding for undergraduates. 
  • Increase course offerings, including massive open online courses.
  • Build exchange programs to bring government and policy makers to Princeton, and to send Princetonians to Washington, DC, and elsewhere.
  • Establish endowed professorships to bring experts to campus to teach and conduct research on issues at the intersection of technology and society.

The need for the information and insights provided by CITP scholars is burgeoning—and the stakes could not be higher for civil liberties, the economy, and democracy itself. With your help, faculty, students, and alumni will find the programs, mentoring, and support they need to think critically, explore possibilities, and lead in assessing and creating policies to ensure that data is secure and democratic ideals are preserved.


For information on supporting the Center for Information Technology Policy, contact Jane Maggard, associate dean for development, engineering and applied science, at jmaggard@princeton.edu or 609.258.4973 or Tom Roddenbery, associate director, strategic priorities, at thomasr@princeton.edu or 609.258.6122.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save