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Design and Usage of Transparency Enhancing Technologies

Hicks, Alexander; (2023) Design and Usage of Transparency Enhancing Technologies. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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As computer systems handle transactions and make decisions about our lives, the opaqueness of such systems means that when faults occur, the negative impacts of these faults are often unfairly passed on to the individuals that are subject to these systems. The aim of this thesis is to show how transparency enhancing technologies, technical mechanisms that support transparency about a system, can be used to address these issues. To do this, this thesis provides an analysis of transparency enhancing technologies from their technical design to their practical usage. The first part of this thesis systematizes transparency enhancing technologies, providing an analysis of the threat models and technical mechanisms that can support transparency. The second part of this thesis gives an example of a transparency enhancing technology designed to provide transparency that enables publicly verifiable audits of the kind of access to data requests that are made by, for example, law enforcement and medical practitioners. This work shows how distributed logs can be used to provide the infrastructure necessary for such audits and how publicly verifiable audits in the form of statistics (including multivariable statistics) can be produced with assurances that the privacy of individuals who relate to the information that is audited is respected. The third part of this thesis discusses how transparency enhancing technologies can allow us to move beyond simply transparency and accountability. Drawing on the legal literature that has concerned itself with the legal effects of code as it enforces norms and the legitimacy of such effects, I discuss the ways in which code can be contested through the use of transparency enhancing technologies, in contrast to other kinds of accountability technologies based on compliance, and, because it is code itself, how transparency enhancing technologies can be legitimate, unlike other ways of contesting code.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Design and Usage of Transparency Enhancing Technologies
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2023. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10183344
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