CITRIS Policy Lab reports

Additional reports and other publications are available on the CITRIS Policy Lab website.

Technologies of Pandemic Control: Privacy and Ethics for COVID-19 Surveillance
October 2020

While technology could assist in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, it may do so at the risk of eroding significant data privacy protections and civil liberties. Through an analysis of four technologies aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., we investigate how these technologies work, the privacy and ethical questions they raise, the legislation governing their use, and their potential consequences now and in a post-pandemic future.

Blockchain, Digital Identity, and Health Records: Considerations for Vulnerable Populations in California
October 2020

What opportunities might blockchain-based digital ID and health records management systems offer to improve services for housing-insecure and homeless populations in California? And what risks unique to this cohort should be considered before launching such programs?

Through a combination of expert interviews, surveys with state chief information officers, and findings from a year-long process with the State of California’s Blockchain Working Group, we find that blockchain-based identity and health records management systems may indeed offer advantages for unhoused populations in California. However, issues with user authentication, cost, and trust must be addressed for these benefits to be realized.

The Future of Public Sector Work: Human-Centered Technology and Policy Strategies 
September 2020

The Future of Public Sector Work explores the application of emerging technologies, especially AI, in three public sectors: K-12 education, social services, and law enforcement. The report investigates not only the effects of these technologies on efficiency and effectiveness of work, but also on equity for those served. The report concludes with priority technology and policy strategies to maximize benefits.

Inclusive AI Resources
May 2020

A growing list of current California and federal legislation targeting AI and influential resources on AI and its impacts on society.

Health, Wildfires & Climate Change in California: Recommendations for Action
October 2019

In Spring 2019, the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute collaborated with the California Institute for Energy and Environment to bring together UC Berkeley faculty and students with practitioners from local governments, state agencies, and community organizations to examine the health impacts of wildfires and to identify solutions to better protect health in future events.

Responsible Digital ID: Effects of Data Governance Policies and Practices on Human Rights
September 2019

An estimated 1 billion people lack formal identification globally, restricting their ability to meaningfully participate in the economy and society. In response, national digital identity systems are rapidly being deployed by a variety of actors and institutions to provide individuals with formal means of establishing their identity. While these systems have the potential to hold great value to individuals, lack of sound data governance policies and practices present risks to individual civil and political rights. Through an analysis of national DID systems in Argentina, Estonia, Kenya, and China, we investigate how data governance policies and practices affect civil and political rights within the areas of data protection, political participation, and inclusion of diverse ethnic identities. We conclude with priority recommendations for national digital ID system data governance policies and practices that should be implemented to support civil and political rights.

Women’s Reproductive Rights: Computational Propaganda in the United States
June 2019

Women’s reproductive rights have been a divisive political issue in the United States for decades. While social media holds great potential to support bipartisan engagement around politically contentious issues like reproductive rights, these platforms can also be co-opted by nefarious actors to perpetuate polarization. Using the Twitter Search and Stream APIs, we captured over 1.7 million tweets corresponding to 463,261 unique handles. Using a combination of social network analysis, bot detection, and qualitative coding this research explores the role of bots in spreading disinformation, harassment, and divisiveness on women’s reproductive rights.

Facing the Future: Protecting Human Rights in Policy Strategies for Facial Recognition Technology in Law Enforcement
May 2019

Facial recognition technology (FRT) is gaining traction in law enforcement as a tool to identify persons of interest in criminal investigations. However, FRT leverages a uniquely sensitive biometric trait that is both immutable and always exposed to the public, which means that unregulated use of FRT in law enforcement creates risk for human rights. This research serves as a resource for discourse and policymaking around FRT by providing a systematic three-dimensional policy analysis framework to assess to which degree regulatory policies safeguard the most relevant human rights in the context of FRT: privacy, equity or non-discrimination, and due process. The analysis draws on qualitative methods, including a literature review, expert interviews, and archival research to operationalize each concept in measurable sub-variables and apply the framework to two case studies of mature democracies active in FRT use and committed to protecting civil liberties, the UK and the US.

Putting AI to Work: Technology and Policy for Enabling the Workforce of the Future
September 2018

Putting AI to Work explores ways AI can be designed and deployed to enhance and augment human labor, especially for aging populations and individuals with disabilities.

Inclusive AI: Technology and Policy for a Diverse Urban Future
July 2017

Inclusive AI explores the benefits and risks of AI-enabled technologies on social, political, and economic inclusion in the urban context and provides policy recommendations for the private and public sectors.

IoT & Sustainability: Practice, Policy and Promise
June 2016

IoT & Sustainability explores applications of IoT for sustainability in the energy, water, and transportation sectors and offers recommendations to city-level officials seeking to implement IoT technologies within these domains.