Minderoo Tech & Policy Lab
Experimental. Power-shifting. Rule-breaking and rule-making. The Minderoo Tech & Policy Lab, which opened its doors at UWA Law School in September 2020, is not your usual academic centre.
We are mission-driven, culture-first, and determined to make a dent. On what, you ask? On tackling lawlessness in the technology ecosystem. By ‘lawlessness’, we mean that there is no jurisdiction in the world with laws, policies and institutions to effectively govern the tech ecosystem and, through that, to protect people and communities.
We’ve permitted the world’s most powerful companies – the likes of Google, Amazon, Facebook – to operate in a state of exception, reaping massive profits and stockpiling swathes of highly intimate information about us in the process. We need to end this exceptionalism. And we need better tech that serves the public interest.
A lab for law and technology, tuned to politics and power. Pro-public. Collective. Future-making.
We are one of many. The Minderoo Tech & Policy Lab collaborates closely with several powerhouse research centres around the globe, as well as a much broader alliance of activists, researchers, and policymakers. We launch alongside three foundational partners – our global tech impact network:
- The Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy (University of Cambridge)
- The Minderoo Initiative on Technology and Power, at the Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (University of California, Los Angeles)
- The AI Now Institute and ENRICH (New York University).
Collectively, this network of experts – with specialisations in information science, law, engineering, Indigenous research and innovation, media studies, gender studies, and labour studies – say time has run out for big tech to continue evading accountability.
The network will incubate academic and reform work on an accelerated timeline over the next five years, with the research program zeroing in on three distinctive themes: tackling lawlessness, empowering workers, and reimagining technology.
Here at UWA, we’re taking the lead on the tackling lawlessness theme.
For more on the global project, please visit Future Says.
The Lab acknowledges the support of Australian charity Minderoo Foundation in gift-funding the creation of the Lab. In addition, we acknowledge the support of UWA and external governmental and non-profit partners, who together contribute over 50% of our funding. We maintain the highest standards of academic integrity and are committed to the autonomy and independence of our researchers to pursue work free of external influence.
The Lab pursues world-class research with twin objectives:
- promoting and protecting rights for individuals and communities faced with the harmful consequences of digital technologies and data-informed systems; and
- providing a robust pro-innovation environment and use-cases for the stimulation of civic tech development in the public interest.
The intellectual agenda of the Lab is underpinned by an understanding of where the crucial gaps exist in technology, law and policy. The Lab serves public institutions to confidently lead with well-informed, robust, and novel approaches to technology regulation and governance.
Equally, the lab provides support to communities to apply pressure points where they may be needed – such as in the form of strategic litigation, public consultations, and grassroots movements.
The Lab will deliver a distinctive program of research in the domain of technology and governance centring on two major tracks of enquiry:
- challenging impunity
- reimagining the data economy.