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Jun 18, 2014

Introducing the inaugural class of Data & Society fellows


The Data & Society Research Institute is pleased to announce its inaugural class of fellows. Beginning this summer we’ll be joined by an eclectic cast of researchers and practitioners working on a bunch of thorny and interesting data and society issues. Over the coming year the group will pursue their own projects, support one another’s work, and help to develop the Institute and shape its research agenda. We’re excited to introduce them. Without further ado:

Anthony Townsend, Senior Research Scientist at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation, will focus on the way new data are being used in academic research to decipher how cities work and how these new discoveries will be applied in local government. He will explore frameworks for engaging citizen scientists more deeply in these efforts to encourage less technocratic styles of data-driven research and governance.

Bonnie Tijerina is a librarian, entrepreneur, and library community convener. She is founder and president of Electronic Resources & Libraries. Her work will create opportunities for education, debate, and discussion within the library profession around the increasingly complex concept of privacy in the digital world. Bonnie will be working closely with libraries to support user privacy and empower the general citizenry to make informed decisions about their data.

David Merritt Johns is a PhD candidate studying the history of public health in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University. His research examines the work of the US Preventive Services Task Force, a scientific panel charged by the federal government with providing evidence-based recommendations on the use of screening tests and other clinical preventive services.

Dean Jansen, co-founder of Amara.org and executive director of the Participatory Culture Foundation, will be conducting research aimed at articulating a vision for an equitable and economically viable future for crowd labor. Dean will collaborate with crowd workers, entrepreneurs, activists, researchers, and others in the field, combining a dose of activism with elements of qualitative research, secondary research, and practical application.

Gideon Lichfield, a senior editor at Quartz, will be looking at ways to enhance and broaden the public discussion of data and society issues that can sometimes be hard for the general public to get a grip on. Among the tools he’ll be exploring will be the use of fiction as a way to report on, describe and debate these issues by telling stories about imagined futures.

Ingrid Burrington is an artist who writes, makes maps, and tells jokes about places, politics, and the weird feelings people have about both. She will research, write about, and organize public programming around the influence of computational systems of perception and representation: How do emerging technologies and algorithms see us, and how does that change the way we see ourselves?

Karen Levy is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Princeton and holds a JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Karen investigates how digital tools are used to enforce laws and rules, with a particular interest in the normalization of electronic surveillance within social and organizational relationships. Her research explores how digital monitoring changes social norms around accountability, discretion, and trust. Karen is a fellow at NYU’s Information Law Institute and the Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing.

Lani Cossette, a Senior Attorney in the Office of Industry Affairs at Microsoft, will survey and record the experiences of entrepreneurs who have developed new privacy-protective services that challenge the predominant business model (behaviorally targeted advertising). She will explore the various interests and influencing factors that have defined the paths of these companies.

Mark Latonero is a professor and research director at the USC Annenberg School’s Center on Communication Leadership & Policy and leads its Technology and Human Trafficking Initiative. Mark will be researching the intersections between data, development, and human rights, advancing the empirically-driven research needed to create a shared understanding of risks and benefits of data-centric approaches to social issues.

Martha Poon is a social scientist interested in how data-intensive systems are changing the public’s relationship to finance. She researches and writes about the impact of credit scoring technology on consumer access to credit. Martha will be developing strategies for investigating, explaining, and communicating the role of information systems in financial innovation.

Seeta Peña Gangadharan is a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute. Her work focuses on digital equity, security, and privacy, and explores data profiling and discrimination experienced by historically marginalized groups. She is interested in examining different models for detecting and responding to data-driven discrimination in various contexts of social life.

Tim Hwang is a partner at Robot Robot & Hwang, a law firm and technology consultancy focusing on experiments at the intersection of legal and computer code. He will lead an initiative seeking to develop general principles and common frameworks to guide policymaking as intelligent systems emerge and become increasingly ubiquitous in a variety of arenas including capital markets, warfare, medicine, transportation, and social life at large.