In June 2015, I began as the Acting Director of the Center for Information Technology Policy, while our founding Director Ed Felten is on leave as Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer at the White House. I’m happy to take on this role for another year. We accomplished many exciting things over the past year, and I’m looking forward to doing more in the coming year. I’ve really enjoyed my time as the Acting Director of the center. We continue to see evidence that many technology issues—particularly in communications and security—are best solved with close, ongoing collaboration between technologists and policymakers. As a center, we will continue to pursue activities that strengthen these ties.

Over the past year, I’ve worked hard to both build on our existing programs and strengthen our ties across departments at Princeton, as well as to industry, government, and NGOs with a variety of new events:

We created a CITP “On the Road” Speaker Series, which aims to bring together technologists and policymakers on current issues in tech policy through events in Washington, New York, the Bay Area, and other venues outside of Princeton. Our first event was jointly organized with the Center for Democracy and Technology and featured six experts discussing the recent FCC’s proposed rulemaking on ISPs and privacy of customer data.

We started a new seed grant program, with generous funding from Microsoft, that encourages researchers in technology and policy to start new projects together. This year, we had projects in four new exciting areas, ranging from field studies of censorship circumvention tools to algorithmic transparency.

We organized an event, co-sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission and the National Science Foundation, to discuss technical and policy-related issues surrounding the Internet user quality of experience for applications such as streaming video.

We hosted our first hackathon, jointly organized with Code for Princeton and in partnership with the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition, to explore and solve problem related to transportation in the Princeton municipality.

Many more new and exciting activities are afoot. This fall, we will start a three-year, multi-stakeholder project to explore policy issues surrounding security and privacy of the Internet of Things (IoT). In addition to addressing substantive problems in this area, our aim as a center is to deepen the relationships between our center, its students, and organizations in Washington who are shaping the future of technology policy.

We have a regular weekly seminar series on Tuesdays at lunch, and we welcome visitors; do not hesitate to pay us a visit. Many of us make regular trips to Washington, and with the “On the Road” series, we expect that there will be more ways to engage with CITP in the future off of the Princeton campus. We’re always on the lookout for ways to engage, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We look forward to an exciting year ahead!

Nick Feamster