Consumer Protection in the 21st Century: How Can New Collaborative Technologies Enable Citizens to Add Value to the Regulatory Functions of Government?

Client: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Faculty: Beth Noveck
Team: Elizabeth Buck, Tanja Hamilton, Vaughn Mayers, Noah Sheroff, and Tina Spaic
Year: 2013

The Capstone team partnered with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic nonprofit institution, to identify areas where open data systems and collaborative arrangements via technology can add public value to the regulatory job of government agencies. The team first organized a design challenge similar to the New York City “Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge,” wherein New York City residents collaborate to redesign payphones across the city. At the event, policy students, policymakers, regulators, and technology experts collaborated and brainstormed in order to design rating and reputation tools to complement and improve the regulation of illegal apartment conversions in New York City and interstate Chinese motorcoach companies. As a result, the team compiled a detailed report of the challenge’s findings, giving regulators insight into new, non-traditional approaches to the oversight and regulatory function of their agency.