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News

TAPP Fellowship 2021-2022 Report Round Up

The  Technology and Public Purpose Fellows  hosted by the Belfer Center’s Technology and Public Purpose Project (TAPP) is a showcase of the TAPP fellowship cohort’s research projects. TAPP Fellows are government, industry, and civil society practitioners that conduct field-based research on issues relating to technology and public purpose over the course of one academic year.

Design from the Margins

Maria Stiller

Report

Design From the Margins

| May 13, 2022

In an age of virtual connectivity and increased reliance on the internet for daily functions, including by marginalized groups, can companies and technologists reframe their features or standards to support the most marginalized users’ needs? Can the modes of resilience within digital spaces from some of the most marginalized groups be listened to, learned from, and centered when creating technology? Design from the Margins (DFM), a design process that centers the most impacted and marginalized users from ideation to production, pushes the notion that not only is this something that can and must be done, but also that it is highly beneficial for all users and companies. For this to happen, consumer interest conversations need to be framed outside the “biggest use case” scenarios and United States and European Union-centrisms and refocused on the cases often left in the margins: the decentered cases.

This report outlines how the DFM method can be used to build our most well-known and relied-upon technologies for decentered cases (often deemed “edge cases” which is atypical or less common use case for a product) from the beginning of the design process, rather than retrofitting them post-deployment to cater to communities with what are perceived to be extra needs.

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Report

Digital Crime Scenes: The Role of Digital Evidence in the Persecution of LGBTQ People in Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia

| Mar. 07, 2022

Digital evidence–primarily from device searches–has made it easier for law enforcement to identify, harass, and prosecute LGBTQ people on the basis of their identity. This new report by Technology and Public Purpose fellow and Berkman Klein Center affiliate Afsaneh Rigot draws on years of in-depth research, including reviews of individual court case files and interviews with defense attorneys in Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia, to demonstrate the painful and unjust impacts of these developments, as well as the communities’ resilience. 

Afsaneh Rigot has deep experience with both the needs and views of queer people in MENA as well as engaging tech companies to make meaningful change. She advocates for a methodology she terms Design from the Margins. Rigot calls on companies to use the findings of this report to build from the essential needs of those most impacted by their tools, creating better tech for all users in the process.