STIA-458 Surveillance, Governance and Information Technology
Fall for 2017-2018
This seminar course will motivate students to think critically about how information and changing technology impacts governance and what that means for the private and public sectors as well as civil society. Governments need information to fulfill their traditional mandates and meet new challenges in public service delivery, development and security. At the same time, individuals value privacy, are wary of surveillance and want transparency in decision-making. A rapidly changing technology environment and growing excitement about “big data” have resulted in unprecedented collection and release of information as made famous by Wikileaks. These contemporary developments are bringing the role of technology and information in governance to sharp focus. This class will explore information technologies ranging from paper and mobile phones to body-worn cameras, the TOR network and drones in varying political contexts including the British colonial empire, the largest social security program (India's National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), “liberation technologies” in Latin America and civic technologies in the US. Students will i) critically evaluate existing theories on information technology and governance and ii) develop their own understanding of how state, technology and society interact iii) apply their understanding to a case of their own choosing. The course is intended for students who want to design technology solutions, create or inform technology policy, and/or understand how technology is changing the nature of information, society and governance. For their final project, students will be asked to reflect on an information and technology based solution to a governance problem that they develop, or critically write about an existing information technology based approach in a governance context.
Learning goals and Objectives:
Critical understanding of existing theories on information and technology as they are related to addressing global governance challenges.
Conceive, develop and present a final paper and project.
Develop a sense for contextually aware socio-technical interventions.
Develop a basic understanding of how some of the technological systems work.
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