61. Science Technology Studies and their Role in Informing Technology Policy

Anna Lenhart, University Of Maryland College Park; Bogdana Rakova;

The last few years have witnessed the introduction and passage of comprehensive and consequential consumer technology policy (eg. EU Digital Service Act, UK/CA Age Appropriate Design Code, India Information Technology Rules). These laws will lead to a new set of frameworks and standards for the internet by regulating functions such as terms of service disclosures, algorithmic audit frameworks, recommender system choice screens, parental controls, digital ad libraries, and privacy-preserving technologies. Such legislation forces lawmakers to consider tradeoffs between human rights, national norms and values. Meanwhile, scholars are using sociotechnical imaginaries (Jasanoff and Kim, 2015), speculative fiction (Oziewicz, 2017) and other STS concepts to understand the narratives surrounding these policies and what they could mean for the future of the internet (boyd & Sarathy, 2022; Mitrovia, 2015). Researchers are considering how technology can be used to threaten human autonomy and lead to marginalization, as well as the potential to mitigate these harms with well-implemented policy and regulations. This panel seeks to convene researchers who are analyzing or experimenting with STS concepts and their role in informing technology policy past, present and future. We welcome submissions exploring themes such as: How could new frameworks, standards, audit processes, APIs, etc outlined in legislation be used to make way for technologies, tools, dashboards, choice screens that support/threaten human and ecological flourishing? What narratives have led to these policies and may impact the way they are implemented and enforced? How can STS concepts expand who is included in policy conversations? What are their shortcomings?

Contact: alenhart@terpmail.umd.edu, b.rakova@gmail.com

Keywords: Social Movements and STS, Governance and Public Policy, Transnational STS

Published: 04/07/2023