Governing through technology has proven irresistibly seductive. Everything from the Internet backbone to consumer devices employs technological design to regulate behavior purposefully by promoting values such as privacy, security, intellectual property protection, innovation, and freedom of expression. Legal and policy scholarship has discussed individual skirmishes over the political impact of technical choices—from whether intelligence and police agencies can gain access to privately encrypted data to debates over digital rights management. But it has failed to come to terms with the reality that “governance-by-design”—the purposeful effort to use technology to embed values—is becoming a central mode of policymaking, and that our existing regulatory system is fundamentally ill-equipped to prevent that phenomenon from subverting public governance.



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