Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

63 Federal Communications Law Journal 391 (2011)


Symposium: Rough Consensus and Running Code: Integrating Engineering Principles into Internet Policy Debates, held at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Technology Innovation and Competition on May 6-7, 2010.

In the discourse on communications and new media policy, the average consumer-the user-is frequently eliminated from the equation. This Article presents an argument rooted in developmental psychology theory regarding the ways that users interact with technology and the resulting implications for data privacy law. Arguing in favor of a user-centric construction of policy and law, the Author introduces the concept of resilience. The concept of resilience has long been discussed in terms of the structure of technology systems themselves; but, the resilience of the human users of these systems-though equally if not more important to their functioning-has been neglected. The goal of fostering user resilience should be explicitly included in the discourse on technology policy with respect to data privacy and information security; a base of resilient users is an essential building block for the long run of a trusted marketplace in information technology products. Contract law reflects a long standing consideration of resilience concerns and offers promising avenues for "building better users."