Are Privacy and Democracy Doomed?
The Politics of Information Technology and its Impact on Society
Instructor: Terry Gray
Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM on 4 consecutive Wednesdays
Dates: 2/19/2020 - 3/11/2020
Location: Gateway Hall 352, 6606 196th St SW Lynnwood, WA 98036
REGISTER AT edcc.edu/cri Fee: $50.00
The game isn't over, but it's the fourth quarter and the Good Guys are down by two touchdowns. Awesome information technologies, naive idealism, corporate greed, and partisan politics have come together to threaten society... in particular, personal privacy and democratic elections. Our country faces hard choices as evidence mounts that the ad-driven personal data economy, hidden influencers, and social networks have collided with fundamental values of privacy, liberty, and fairness. The crucial questions are how information technologies such as social networking, facial recognition, and genetic databases will be used, and who will decide. This class will help you understand the nature of the problem, and the choices facing our policy-makers. Class discussion is encouraged. Note: This is an update to the class entitled The Politics of Technology, offered in Spring 2019.
Are Privacy and Democracy Doomed?
This is a question many of us are asking these days! It is also the title of a class being offered by the Creative Retirement Institute during the 2020 Winter quarter. The CRI lifelong learning program is a partnership between a team of dedicated volunteers and Edmonds College with the goal of providing high-quality and affordable short courses aimed at the academic interests of adults.
“Are Privacy and Democracy Doomed?” looks at how information technologies such as social networking, facial recognition, and genetic databases will be used, and who will decide how they are used. The goal of this class is to help inform citizens about the nature of the problem and the choices facing our policy-makers. It begins with an overview of current technology policy issues and how the information economy, fueled by online advertising, actually works.
The course is being taught by Dr. Terry Gray, who spent over a quarter century as a senior leader in the University of Washington’s Information Technology organization, and also as an Affiliate Professor in the UW Computer Science department. Prior to joining UW, he worked at Bell Labs then taught at UCLA and ran the Center for Experimental Computer Science there. Later he was VP of Engineering at a Silicon Valley networking company. When he retired a few years ago, he was UW’s Associate VP for Technology Strategy.
Gray made the following statement about the class: “ Information technology is at the root of the new information wars, which in turn are a big factor in our current trust crisis. Which smartphone applications do you trust with your personal data? Which online news reports do you trust to be factual? Rule One of tech policy is that technology is always a two-edged sword, capable of both benefit and harm. Rule Two is that neither technologists nor politicians can change Rule One.”
“Our country faces some very hard choices, as evidence mounts that the ad-driven personal data economy, hidden influencers, and social networking have collided with fundamental values of privacy, liberty, and fairness. Reaching political consensus on solutions will be difficult because of growing partisanship, bumper-sticker ideologies that kill nuance, and politicians who do not understand the technologies. “
The “Are Privacy and Democracy Doomed?” class will be held from 10am - noon on four consecutive Wednesdays, beginning on February 19, 2020 in Gateway Hall at Edmonds Community College.
REGISTER AT edcc.edu/cri
Privacy in the News
The Data Economy
Personalization / Targeting
Democracy and Trust
Threats to Democracy
Safety and Liberty