The 51st Annual TPRC (The Research Conference on Communications, Information and Internet Policy) Conference took place on September 22-23, 2023. The conference brings together stakeholders of various sectors, including policymakers, academics, and representation from the corporate world as well as civil society. ARNIC-affiliated students had the chance to present their work in various divisions and venues, and participated in the graduate student workshop that preceded the main conference.

Here’s what our students had to say about their experiences:

Rohan Grover
Poster Title: “Accounting for Indeterminacy: The Trouble with Transparency(ies) in Data Protection Compliance Work.”

I attended TPRC to attend the Grad Student Workshop and present a poster from my dissertation research. My poster showed my findings from interviewing software developers and other technical workers to find out: What happens after data privacy laws get passed? How do these workers enact compliance with these laws, how do their experiences potentially differ from expectations, and what are the implications for our relationship to data and privacy? Through the presentation, I met attendees from both academia and industry who are also interested in data governance, including from the Office of the US Trade Representative and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. I also presented my findings at the workshop, where I was fortunate to receive feedback from Professor Robin Mansell, Professor Amit Schejter, and fellow participants.

Juan Ortiz Freuler
Poster Title: “Shark Patterns: Recording how apps engage with browser choice”

It was a privilege to be able to participate at the TPRC conference. At the student symposium I had the opportunity to meet about two dozen students who shared their research agendas and their thoughts on my own. The convenors were generous in their feedback and in their efforts towards creating a community of young scholars interested in technology policy. In informal conversations inside and out of the conference grounds I got to know my future colleagues and to discuss in more detail our understanding of this changing world and how to shape the underlying processes. At the conference, I also had the opportunity to present a poster on my research regarding gatekeeping of web content in the iOS environment and received useful feedback that has shaped the existing draft paper as well as ideas for future research on the topic. I also had the opportunity to listen to many academics, practitioners and government officials who are actively shaping the policy landscape, getting a clearer idea of the technical, practical and political challenges that lie ahead, and that will surely shape the way in which I conduct my own research and advocacy.

Alphoncina Lyamuya

I attended the TPRC Graduate Student Workshop where I discussed and received constructive feedback on my ongoing research focusing on the adoption of digital technologies and automated decision systems to transform the delivery of humanitarian aid to forcibly displaced populations like refugees. I especially appreciated the presence of mentors from academia, industry, and government – which was helpful for me to think about ways to situate my work from both theoretical and practical perspectives. The workshop also allowed me the opportunity to learn from peers who are doing interesting work and their approach to understanding different issues around digital technologies, infrastructure, and governance, and the ways they are contributing to knowledge and public policy.

In addition, attending several sessions that featured a variety of presentations by researchers and practitioners was also a highlight of my TPRC participation. I was especially fascinated by the panel discussions featuring several researchers from Penn State focusing on the politics of broadband policy and how research – not just quantitative but also qualitative – can be key for informing the creation and implementation of practical policies that take into account different axes of social inequality and exclusion.