How to Defend Independent Technology Research from Corporate and Political Opposition

The Sunday Show

Jan 21 2024 • 41 mins

In October 2022, a group of researchers published a manifesto establishing a Coalition for Independent Technology Research.

“Society needs trustworthy, independent research to relieve the harms of digital technologies and advance the common good,” they wrote. “Research can help us understand ourselves more clearly, identify problems, hold power accountable, imagine the world we want, and test ideas for change. In a democracy, this knowledge comes from academics, journalists, civil society, and community scientists, among others. Because independent research on digital technologies is a powerful force for the common good, it also faces powerful opposition.”

In the months since that document was published, that opposition has grown. From investigations in Congress to lawsuits aimed at specific researchers, there is a backlash particularly against those who study communications and media, especially where the subjects of that research are often those most interested in advancing false and misleading claims about issues including elections and public health.

Justin Hendrix, who is a member of the coalition, caught up with Brandi Geurkink, who was hired as the coalition's first Executive Director in December 2023, to discuss its priorities.

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