News at Princeton

Monday, July 28, 2014

Multimedia: Student

Student work: Center for Information Technology Policy


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Mike Wood, class of 2008, profiles CITP, a cross-disciplinary academic group that is joining ORFE in a new home at Sherrerd Hall.


Video Closed Captions

Ed Felten:
CITP is the Center for Information Technology Policy,

Ed Felten:
and it's a cross-disciplinary group at Princeton that works on the intersection between digital technology and public life.

Ed Felten:
It started years ago with a bunch of faculty, including me, who were really interested in how information technology was changing society

Ed Felten:
and how public policy decisions were being made about technology. We thought that we could contribute to making these decisions better

Ed Felten:
and we wanted to find a way to do that. Technology moves very quickly, and the policy process historically has moved more slowly.

Ed Felten:
One of the things we want to foster in CITP is a way for the policy process to catch up with the speed of technology.

Ed Felten:
Many of us in CITP are involved in public policy processes. We go to Washington...

Ed Felten:
I have testified before Congress about digital television policy,

Ed Felten:
about electronic voting policy and have been involved in a bunch of other policy issues.

Ed Felten:
Going to Washington, meeting the people, and understanding what the conversation is that is going on there is really important.

Ed Felten:
It helps us understand how we can be involved and it helps us focus our research in ways that

Ed Felten:
will be most useful in pushing the policy discussion forward.

Ed Felten:
CITP has participating faculty and students from a number of different departments,

Ed Felten:
from computer science, and electrical engineering, from sociology, politics, the Wilson School...

Ed Felten:
They're really a broad range of people who are interested in technology and policy issues.

Ed Felten:
And we want to throw the door open to all of them.

David Robinson:
If you look at where our new building is, it's a bridge both physically and metaphorically

David Robinson:
between engineering and the social sciences and public policy.

David Robinson:
It's halfway in between the engineering school and computer science on the one hand,

David Robinson:
and sociology and the Wilson School and economics on the other hand.

Ed Felten:
One of the most important parts of the new building for CITP is the way that it brings people together

Ed Felten:
and will foster conversations and collaborations.

Ed Felten:
Just having a space where CITP people can have their offices, where we'll bump into each other in the hall is valuable.

Ed Felten:
We also in the new space have a large common room that is designed as a gathering area.

Ed Felten:
There's one long wall that is all white boards and there is furniture that people can sit in and stand and talk

Ed Felten:
and we really want to create a central place where people can come and talk about technology and policy -- a place where they can go

Ed Felten:
for a conversation both metaphorically on campus but also physically in our own space in the new building.

David Robinson:
Another important thing about the building that we think matches the work we are doing is that it's transparent.

David Robinson:
You look at this building, and you have this feeling that you can see what's going on inside, and one of our areas of research

David Robinson:
is the way that digital technology enables government and institutions in general to be more transparent and more accountable.

David Robinson:
Technology lets us see what's happening on the inside, and it lets people read the facts themselves and reach their own conclusions.

David Robinson:
And so, that's an ethos that I think runs through both the space that we live in and the work that we do.

Alex Halderman:
The grad students are the primary research-doers on the ground in CITP. My research is about computer security,

Alex Halderman:
specifically, practical problems in computer security that affect a large number of people.

Alex Halderman:
In the future there will be new security threats we have to deal with –- things like botnets, where tens or hundreds of thousands

Alex Halderman:
of computers controlled by criminals threaten the security and safety of businesses and individuals online.

Alex Halderman:
And we're looking for solutions to the botnet problem that involve new technologies for making home computers more secure

Alex Halderman:
as well as changes to public policy –- ways to better coordinate responses in law enforcement

Alex Halderman:
and ways to change the incentives of attackers and defenders.

Ed Felten:
Security is just one piece of what CITP does.

Ed Felten:
One example of a technological prediction we can make is that

Ed Felten:
about 10 years from now, you will be able to get an iPod that costs maybe $100 and fits in your pocket

Ed Felten:
and holds all of the music ever recorded by humanity.

Ed Felten:
New structures, new economic models need to evolve between now and 10 years from now

Ed Felten:
to deal with that technology because we know it's coming.

Ed Felten:
One of the things that we try to do in CITP is see these things coming

Ed Felten:
so that we can start the policy discussion early so that solutions can be ready in time.

David Robinson:
I think that we are really filling a niche. There's nobody else who's doing quite what Princeton is

David Robinson:
and I think we are all very excited to be a part of it.

(music)

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