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Gathering information about the economic and social health of your community is an essential first step in launching any type of advocacy campaign, social enterprise or venture. Data helps you understand the needs of your neighborhood, helping to ensure that your advocacy efforts are tailored to the real challenges of the community and not the assumed needs.
Wireless community networks can be an effective strategy for addressing the digital divide. They can offer affordable access to the Internet while building community and strengthening the local economy. In an age when access to the Internet is increasingly a condition for full participation in society and the economy, the development of a community wireless network is a technology that can work on a small, manageable scale and which permits local community control.
Transparency and public data can help improve the effectiveness of government agencies and elected officials. However, current transparency requirements focus on physical publication and inspection, which favor and protect incumbent power. Local governments often do not have rigorous data collection, and even localities that have the data lack the resources to make it useful. The solution to this problem includes targeted legal reforms, citizen-centered technologies and modernized models of public administration. Tools of digital democracy, such as open data, open 311, and open FOIL, and open meetings are essential for an informed citizenry that consents to be governed in the modern era.
Science and technology policy fellowships train scientists and engineers to use their expertise to advise government officials in technical matters to inform policymaking. Across the US, differences in legislative structures between states (e.g. legislative size, session duration, state resources) require state-specific fellowship design. This report describes two case studies of emerging fellowships in North Carolina and Virginia and uses these examples as a model to suggest how other states might implement similar policy fellowships. This report highlights the government structures in each of these states, focusing on how each unique type of legislature informs the most promising options for host locations, funding sources, and duties for fellows in each state. For coalitions to establish successful state science policy fellowships, the report recommends understanding the particular structure and needs of state governments, communicating with key stakeholders, and identifying additional opportunities for fellows to engage outside of the state government.
While Artificial Intelligence (AI) is often viewed as a neutral technological tool that brings efficiency, objectivity and accuracy, choices on design, implementation and use can embed existing racial inequalities into AI and create racially biased systems that produce harmful consequences. This problem in AI systems is especially consequential in the criminal justice system, where it is increasingly used by the federal government to replace or support judicial decision-making. This report addresses the primary causes for the development, deployment, and use of racially biased AI systems and suggests responses to ensure that federal agencies realize the benefits of AI and protect against racially disparate impact. There are three recommended actions for agencies to take to prevent racial bias: 1) increase racial diversity in AI designers, 2) implement AI impact assessment, 3) establish procedures for staff to contest automated decisions.
The rapid developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) present a serious challenge to the American copyright system and future advancements in the AI industry. These industries rely on intellectual property protections to maintain equilibrium between productivity, remuneration, and competitiveness. American policymakers, however, have paid little attention to the intersection of artificial intelligence and copyright protection. This study collects data from AI scientists, tech policy experts, and copyright scholars which shows that while intelligent software is an important contributor to American cultural development, half of the respondents believe that the US Copyright Office is not prepared to deal with an influx of computer-generated works.
Rural regions in the United States largely lack high-quality internet access. However, a substantial minority of rural areas actually have internet infrastructure that is better than what metro regions have on average. Locally-rooted cooperatives have already invested in fiber optic networks and are an important tool for expanding access in a responsible manner across rural America. States can encourage this growth by easing restrictions on cooperative broadband networks and increasing funding opportunities. Cooperatives are often eligible for state and local grants. If you live a rural area, talk to your neighbors, co-op manager, and board members about the potential for internet networks—successful cooperative projects are community led projects.
This report outlines the current political economy of platforms and data in the US and UK, as well as key policies, regulations, and legislation in the data and technology industry. It presents five foundational principles to guide a transformative agenda in platforms and data including, Privacy and anti-surveillance, from enclosure to the commons, Global multi-stakeholder governance, reducing corporate concentration and power, and increasing public funding. With these principles at the forefront, policy solutions include Democratic Public Ownership, a “New Deal” for workers and unions, public and democratic control of personal data, and Digital Community Wealth Building, among others. The increasing monopoly power of tech giants and their abuse of algorithm bias and surveillance capitalism highlights the need for greater anti-trust efforts in the US.
The COVID-19 public health crisis has demonstrated how deficiencies in our approach to intellectual property (IP)—a unique set of rights and protections that applies to the creations of the human intellect—and research and development (R&D) imperil the health, safety, and livelihoods of millions of people around the world. As has happened all too often in the past, the choice to prioritize corporate profits and an exclusionary version of IP rights and R&D over affordable medicines and medical supplies are proving not only to be deadly, but also threatens to dramatically increase economic, geographic, and social inequality. The alternative proposals and policies to combat these trends can be grouped into three categories: reforming existing law and approaches, asserting public control, and establishing commons-based approaches. The design, implementation, and governance of IP and R&D are vital to the future policies related to these two critical pillars of the intangible economy.
Internet connectivity is divided along socioeconomic lines, with fewer options available to those who have less capacity to pay for the service. Communities large and small, rural and urban, have residents who lack adequate access to digital services and internet connectivity. Digital inclusion practices help communities to reach a state in which everyone has equitable access. In conjunction with a local internet service provider (ISP) operating in San Francisco, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development together with the Department of Technology has worked to improve digital access to affordable housing complexes throughout the city. Key takeaways include the importance of finding a suitable ISP partner and researching funding opportunities. A city should find an ISP that desires similar outcomes and can be incentivized to participate in the project.