Rights and networks

Google Open Research

Exploring the consequences of new technologies

The internet is now part of our homes, our streets and our civic spaces. That growth wasn’t planned or designed, and the consequences of its spread weren’t modelled or imagined. Rights and networks for Google Open Research was a chance to uncover more about the hazy relationships between digital infrastructure and the people who use it.

Phil Walking Downstreet Double
Priya On Her Phone Double

The project mixed desk research, guerilla testing and expert interviews with a hardware prototype that helped us 'see' invisible technology. This approach helped us interrogate the way free Wi-Fi is implemented, and understand how that encodes particular power structures.

A lack of transparency about what technology really does means people don’t have a say on how their data is being collected or used. Users are open to manipulation by services they’ve come to rely on. We explored how these gaps in understanding create new risks, and how vulnerable people are left exposed.