Amanda Laucher

Mined Minds | United States

BIO: Amanda Laucher is CEO of a software development consultancy as well as the Founder of a not-for-profit software development bootcamp which provides an entrance into a software career for people in Appalachia who’ve been displaced by the decline of the coal mining industry. Amanda spent more than 15 years in the software development industry before deciding to get a law degree. She still codes regularly but now also focusses on policy and regulation around software development as well as data privacy and security in the era of surveillance capitalism.

TALK: Product Maker or Law Breaker

Session level: beginner

Imagine going to prison or having to pay massive fines for the code you wrote, the requirements that you signed off on, or the product feature that you think you’ve thoroughly tested!

The intersection of business & technology has always been important to agile product development, but there is a critical component that is often forgotten: the law. With the impact that software has on our lives ever increasing, the law surrounding that software is also becoming ever more crucial to understand.

Sometimes companies are not even aware of the impact that their products will have on society. With recent global headlines about Google, Facebook, Boeing, Wikileaks, and Accenture, it is important to understand how the decisions you and the executives and board members around you affect your company, and potentially even yourself. It’s easy to assume that the folks at YouTube who created their smart algorithms were not expecting their work to aide peodophiles, but who, if anyone, is legally responsible for the aggregation of family movies with semi undressed children? Should someone on the product team have thought to test for this? Policies surrounding everything from security and surveillance capitalism to the more mundane “Breach of Contract” are changing rapidly. It is your duty to consider how your work will affect society.

Takeaways

  • It is your responsibility to be aware of the regulations that apply to your work, and the impact that your software has on consumers
  • You need to take the law into consideration when you are planning, testing, and delivering new products or features
  • You can get involved in the development of technology regulations. You have the knowledge of technology, don’t let those without dictate our future.