In this research, we focused on two key problems. First, operationalizing privacy policies into practice is nebulous and challenging. How do you translate, measure, and test values and high level aspirations into a user interface? Second, there is a natural silo between industries fortifying rare integration between industry, policy, and academic research.
Our research was framed around three key questions:
Our full report contains in-depth findings and analyses around these research questions, as well as recommendations and insights for policymakers and industry practitioners working in privacy-related spaces.
We interviewed 41 people from different industries and backgrounds, including:
Based on our interviewees and research process, we came up with some recommendations for policymakers and industry practitioners.
Our 1-pager contains our full set of recommendations for policymakers and industry practitioners.Download recommendations one-pager
“What we really need in privacy is an immune system. The assumption is that everything gets through at least one part of the immune system--what you really want is enough interconnected layers so that it’s really hard to get through all of them.”
- John Wilbanks, Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks
We summarized, created visual prototypes, and collected feedback for three draft bills on online privacy and data governance.
Sketching mockup ideas during a website design sprint session!
Our team reviewed the latest public draft bills on online privacy and data governance from 2018 to 2020. We chose three bills to present and collect feedback on: the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act, Online Privacy Act, and Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act. These bills were chosen based on our goals to represent a diversity of Senate teams, to show a variety of different policy levers, and to produce visual prototypes to illustrate the bills’ potential impacts.
After narrowing our focus to 3 bills, we brainstormed ways to visualize how online platforms might change if these bills were passed. Through lots of sketches and ideation sessions, we produced a speculative visual prototype for each bill, imagining what a social media platform might look like in response to each bill. We chose to represent social media platforms given their widespread reach and high engagement across the general public.
We conducted 41 one-on-one interviews to gather insights around privacy and each of the individual bills. During the interviews, we showed participants a summary of each bill, visual examples to highlight the bill’s concepts, and our visual prototype for the bill. We probed into their reactions to the bills, aiming to identify what they saw as advantages and challenges for each. We also talked about privacy more broadly, asking participants how they viewed privacy both in their work and personal lives.
We created a policy prototyping guide that outlines the process we used to prototype bills and gather feedback. The guide includes a high level diagram of the process, team role outlines, and a step-by-step framework on how to execute the prototyping process.Download policy prototyping guide