I've been trying to think about how populations can have some influence over technology -- how to even start understanding how to think about having influence over technology -- for some time. This paper, Devon, Richard. Towards a Social Ethics of Technology: A Research Prospect, Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2004, which I found via Anne Galloway's blog is very rich food for thought. Design plays a central role in this approach -- it is, after all, the earliest point at which intervention is possible and effective -- as Galloway points out.