Let’s Talk Privacy explores how the implementation of privacy and data governance policies might impact a variety of fields.

Project Let’s Talk Privacy explores how the implementation of privacy and data governance policies might impact a variety of fields. Our project title reflects our work in engaging a more diverse set of voices into conversations around privacy and data governance. How do these policies translate in practice? How they might affect us? To find out, we interviewed 41 people – including lawyers, designers, engineers, advocates, policymakers, and stewards of sensitive data (social workers, pediatricians) – about three federal draft data and privacy related bills. Our objectives were to 1) explore intersections of privacy policy and design through visual prototypes; 2) identify the challenges of translating policy to platform changes based on the specific background and industry skill set of the interviewees; and 3) understand broader perspectives of privacy and control in technology.

In the short time we’ve been working on this project, privacy and data protection conversations have evolved. While our work began several months ago, the insights and questions that our research surfaces are timely and relevant to evolving technologies, even during a pandemic. Questions surrounding surveillance and intrusive tracking overlap with questions about how to strengthen privacy protections using both technical and policy implementations. The emergent conversations around government surveillance and privacy during this pandemic are mentioned here as an important reminder of why privacy is such an important and fraught space.

Our research reflects only a small portion of the diverse perspectives we can bring to data governance and policy making. In particular, our research focuses only on policies in the United States. In the future, we hope to spur more conversations, reveal new insights, and prompt positive action.


Anna Chung

MIT Center for Civic Media

Dennis Jen
Lead Developer

MIT Media Lab / Center for Civic Media

Pardis Emami Naeni
Research Contributor

Carnegie Mellon University

Jasmine McNealy
Research Lead

University of Florida
The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University

Stephanie Nguyen
Project Lead

MIT Media Lab / Center for Civic Media


Sareeta Amrute
Director of Research Data & Society

Associate Professor University of Washington

Vanessa Barone
Senior Governance Analyst SageBionetworks
Lucy Bernholz
Director Digital Civil Society Lab

Sr. Research Scholar Stanford PACS

Georgia Bullen
Executive Director Simply Secure

Chair of the Advisory Committee Measurement Lab

Emily Peterson Cassin
Digital Rights Advocate Public Citizen
Sage Cheng
Design and UX Lead Access Now
Peter Dolanjski
Former Director of Privacy & Security Products Mozilla
Maria Filippelli
Public Interest Technology Census Fellow New America Foundation
Alex Gaynor
Security Engineer | Chief Information Security Officer Alloy
Chris Gilliard
Writer & Professor
Devin Gladden
Manager, Federal Affairs (Energy & Technology) AAA National
Mason Kortz
Clinical Instructor Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic
Nonabah Lane
Member Navajo Nation

Sequoyah Fellow American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)

Ilaria Liccardi
Research Scientist Internet Policy Research Initiative at MIT CSAIL
Janet Linder
Lawyer & Librarian Boston Public Library (Newton)
Sydney Luken
Designer and Educator Georgetown University Ethics Lab
Woody MacDuffie
Senior User Experience Designer Thinkering
Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye
Assistant Professor Imperial College London's Data Science Institute and Department of Computing
Maria Moustaqim-Barrette
Pediatrician Boston Children’s Hospital
Soraya Okuda
Education + Design Lead EFF
Moira Patterson
Digital Inclusion and Data Standards Professional
Najarian Peters
Faculty Fellow and Assistant Professor Institute for Privacy Protection, Seton Hall Law School
Asad Ramzanali
Legislative Director Office of Representative Anna G. Eshoo
Charyti Reiter
Director of Programs On the Rise
Vanessa Rhinesmith
Associate Research Director Technology and Social Change Project (TaSC), Shorenstein Center, Harvard Kennedy School
Becca Ricks
Researcher Mozilla Foundation
Aalok Shah
Product Manager Johns Hopkins University
Rob Simmons-Beck
Attending Internist Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
John Wilbanks
Chief Commons Officer Sage Bionetworks
Cherilyn Yazzie
Member Navajo Nation

Owner Coffee Pot Farms

Ethan Zuckerman
Director Center for Civic Media at MIT

Associate Professor MIT Media Lab


Anna Chung, Dennis Jen, Jasmine McNealy, Stephanie Nguyen; “From legislation to implementation: Exploring how to prototype privacy bills through human-centered policymaking + design” (MIT Media Lab, Medium, 6/2/20)

Let’s Talk Privacy (and More)

Have thoughts on our research?
Interested in collaborating with us?
We want to hear from you!

Send us an email at letstalkprivacy@media.mit.edu