A Legal Turn in Human Computer Interaction? Towards ‘Regulation by Design’ for the Internet of Things

38 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2016

See all articles by Lachlan Urquhart

Lachlan Urquhart

University of Edinburgh - School of Law; Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute

Tom Rodden

University of Nottingham - School of Computer Science

Date Written: March 11, 2016

Abstract

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.

Please get in touch with thoughts and feedback. Email address in paper.

Keywords: Internet of Things, Human Computer Interaction, Information Technology Law, Privacy by Design

Suggested Citation

Urquhart, Lachlan and Rodden, Tom, A Legal Turn in Human Computer Interaction? Towards ‘Regulation by Design’ for the Internet of Things (March 11, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2746467 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2746467

Lachlan Urquhart (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh - School of Law

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute ( email )

University of Nottingham Innovation Park
Triumph Road
Nottingham, NG7 2TU
United Kingdom

Tom Rodden

University of Nottingham - School of Computer Science ( email )

Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

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