A Legal Turn in Human Computer Interaction? Towards ‘Regulation by Design’ for the Internet of Things
Posted: 15 Mar 2016
Date Written: March 11, 2016
This discursive paper explores the role of law in HCI through the concept of ‘regulation by design’. Technology designers are increasingly being called upon by law and policy to act in a regulatory capacity, for example in ‘privacy by design’. This is problematic as technology designers are not traditionally involved in regulation and regulators may not fully appreciate what these designers do. We argue that to practically and conceptually achieve ‘regulation by design’ requires greater understanding of and interaction between the regulation and design communities.
This paper consolidates and assimilates work from the fields of human-computer interaction and technology regulation. It is framed within the context of privacy by design and the Internet of Things. It lays out theoretical tools and conceptual frameworks available to each community and explores barriers and commonalities between them, proposing a route forward.
It contends five main points: 1) regulation by design involves prospective, as opposed to just retrospective, application of law; 2) HCI methods need to be repurposed to engage with legal and regulatory aspects of a system; 3) the legal framing of regulation and design is still anchored in systems theory but human computer interaction has a range of rich approaches for understanding the social, and ‘regulation by design’ needs to use these; 4) designers are now regulators and this brings a range of responsibilities; and lastly, 5) design and human values perspectives in HCI need to be extended to legal values and participatory design is a strong candidate for doing this.
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Keywords: Internet of Things, Human Computer Interaction, Information Technology Law, Privacy by Design
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