Friday, January 5, 2018

New resolution

Image result for advice from a risk detective
Inset at the National Academy of Science, Washington DC

Happy New Year, everyone!  This update comes with a firm resolution to post here more often.  I've gotten in the lazy habit of only describing the national environment when I write my monthly column for ASA News & Notes.  I'm resolving to post here at least once a week going forward -- probably from my UW office in the hour or so before I start to teach at the end of each week.

I'm happy to be teaching information ethics and policy this quarter, as the president continues to try to erase Barack Obama's eight years in office.  There are three branches of government, designed to provide checks and balances on one another; one branch, Congress, should be thinking of what is best for the country (rather than for their particular political party) when they vote on consequential issues like DACA, or review actions by federal agencies (FCC and net neutrality).  Then there is the judicial branch, soon to be weighing in on consequential issues like the immigration order and surveillance via data to be found on one's smartphone, for which they have already ruled that a warrant is necessary to examine.

Outside these three branches is the Special Prosecutor, investigating ties between the Russians and the Trump campaign team; and examining instances that may turn out to be obstruction of justice -- which we remember in detail from (for example) President Nixon's actions that led him to resign before he could be impeached.

As we move further into my information ethics and policy course, I'll be sharing some of the students' reflections on the questions they answer each week.