STPP works with community partners to anticipate the social, equity, and political implications of emerging science and technology to inform their advocacy for more ethical and just technology policy. We have worked with community partners on policy topics such as:

Topic Areas

    • Tenant Screening Algorithms: Policy Intervention
      We issued a policy brief finding that the unreliability of popular, and often required, tenant screening algorithms warrants a change in policy toward restricting information included in these reports in order to provide a more equitable housing application process. (Community Partner: Detroit Action)

    • Acoustic Gunshot Detection Systems (AGDS) 
      We issued a brief about the implications of AGDS like Shotpotter, which are designed to detect, record, and locate the sound of gunfire, and offered policy solutions. We supported our partner, We the People Action Fund, in their campaign against a $7M expansion of Shotspotter in Detroit. (Community Partner: We the People Action Fund)
    • Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR)
      We issued a brief about the implications of Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR), a surveillance technology that can alert law enforcement about vehicle locations in real time or provide information on past movements, and offered policy solutions. 
    • Social Media Scanning Tools
      Automated Tools for Preventing Community Violence. We examined whether social media scanning tools might help prevent fights and shootings. We identified a variety of privacy and safety considerations, and they decided not to pursue the use of these technologies. (Community Partner: FORCE Detroit)

    • Decentralized Wastewater Management
      Decentralized Wastewater Treatment to Reduce Costs. Detroiters have extremely high water bills, and wastewater treatment costs are a major contributor. We wrote a brief analyzing whether a decentralized approach to wastewater treatment, which increases community control of wastewater resources, will bring down costs. (Community Partner: We the People Detroit)
    • Open Access Fiber Networks (OAFN)
      Municipalities across the U.S. have begun to play a bigger role in providing internet access by implementing their own fiber internet networks. Fiber internet networks offer customers and operators faster speeds, lower costs, and increased reliability compared with other forms of internet service. Municipal fiber networks increase access to the internet for those who currently do not have broadband and can be an effective tool in bridging the digital divide. STPP investigated the benefits of fiber networks and determined that fiber access can improve equity, economic, educational, and healthcare outcomes for a community. The policy memo concluded with recommendations for communities looking to adopt their own municipal fiber network. Responses to Fiber Concerns was created as a result of feedback from the Detroit Office of Digital Equity and Inclusion (DEI), investigating the potential implications of installing an open access fiber network in Detroit. Staff at the DEI requested support compiling evidence-based explanations that would address common misconceptions and attacks against public investment in fiber. This document is the product of that effort.(Community Partner: City of Detroit Office of Digital Inclusion)
    • Electrical Grids and Outages in Michigan
      Electrical Grids and Outages in Michigan. We are analyzing the technical dimensions of Michigan’s electrical grid and outage rates, in order to help communities respond to DTE’s effort to raise electricity prices. (Community Partner: We the People Action Fund)