Ryan Calo is an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law and a former research director at CIS. A nationally recognized expert in law and emerging technology, Ryan's work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, Wired Magazine, and other news outlets. Ryan serves on several advisory committees, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and the Future of Privacy Forum. He co-chairs the American Bar Association Committee on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence and serves on the program committee of National Robotics Week.
There's an app for everything these days. But users often don't have a complete picture of the applications they download and use. Privacy policies are technical or vague and seldom allow users to compare practices among different services. Too often users are compelled to forgo their privacy if they want to use a given online product or service. There is little ability to choose an application based on better privacy or security practices because there are few ways to learn that information at the time of download.
Indeed, ninety-one percent of respondents to a TRUSTe survey expressed a willingness to take further steps to safeguard their privacy if presented with usable tools.
WhatApp.org is an app review website that tries to do just that. WhatApp.org combines traditional consumer reporting and review tools with wikis, ratings, and news feeds to allow both savvy Internet experts and novices to share insights about privacy and security features. With nearly 200 applications from a diverse array of platforms (iPhone, Facebook, Twitter, Android, and Firefox), WhatApp.org aims to help fill the current market gap between consumer demand for privacy friendly applications and insufficient practices employed by many, though certainly not all, developers. Here's how to get involved:
Reading through Italian news coverage of the Google Italy case, another picture emerges. User privacy may well be at issue, but not in the way you probably think. I grew up in Italy and now research and teach Internet law in the United States. When I heard about the verdict against three Google executives, one of them an alumnus of the law school where I work, I went first to American sources, then to Italian ones. What I found was that most Americans may be getting the basic facts and ideas of the case wrong.
Chatroulette is frame to much of what is terrible and much of what is wonderful about the Internet. It is the best of websites and it is the worst of websites. In case you’re one of the few people that reads cyberspace blogs but doesn’t know about the service, Chatroulette sets up a video, audio, or text chat session with a completely random stranger. Either party to the arrangement can skip to the next. That’s about it. Chatroulette does not require registration let alone age verification, although the site makes noises about having to be at least 16. You can change the display a little. There, I’ve described it.
Chatroulette takes many of the most interesting facets of the Internet and runs them into their no-frills, logical boundary. The Internet permits anonymous speech; Chatroulette can be completely anonymous. The Internet permits people to connect across diverse communities; Chatroulette practically forces this connection. It is deeply democratic in the sense that it makes no effort to privilege one type of content over another. The brainchild of a Russian child, reportedly hosted in Germany and written in English, Chatroulette is dramatically international. It connects the curious youth of Europe, to you and I, to the white-hatted frat boys of America, to all the weird anywhere shut-ins in between.
Pam Dixon of World Privacy Forum has released an eye-opening new report (PDF) about offline consumer surveillance. Pam describes a quiet revolution in digital signage able to profile us as "users" of real space. I've written before about the danger of techniques developed on the Internet bleeding out into the real world. Well here is the proof. As Wired's Chris Anderson recently wrote in another context, "atoms are the new bits." Pam's report shows just why that matters.
NO: It Is the Way to Kill Innovation
By Ryan Calo
The year is 1910. Orville and Wilbur Wright are testing their plane and happen to fly hundreds of feet over a stretch of land you own. Could you sue them?
Technically, you could. In 1910, your property rights extended ad coelum et ad inferos—up to heaven and down to hell. Anyone who flew over your property without permission was trespassing.
I am a law professor who writes about robotics. I’m also a big Paolo Bacigalupi fan, particularly his breakout novel The Windup Girl involving an artificial girl. So for me, “Mika Model” was not entirely new territory. For all my familiarity with its themes, however, Bacigalupi’s story revealed an important connection in robotics law that had never before occurred to me.
"Otto’s argument might not hold up if challenged, says Ryan Calo, a law professor who teaches a class on robotics law and policy at the University of Washington: “One question is whether or not monitoring counts if you’re not in the driver’s seat. Often customs wind up informing the law and the custom here is that other testers, like Google and Tesla, actually have a person sitting in front of the steering wheel.”
"Such is the hype. But for every tech company with its head in the clouds, there are problems to bring them back down to earth. “There are big technical challenges,” says Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington. “There’s a bunch of PhD theses that need to be completed before you can build a drone to autonomously police an area, find intruders, and use facial recognition to know who is meant to be there. Plus, having these things stay aloft beyond a few minutes is non-trivial.”"
"Secrecy is crucial because it enables more invasive and disruptive forms of surveillance, according to University of Washington Professor Ryan Calo, who has written extensively on the topic. As long as surveillance programs are secret, it’s nearly impossible to hold them in check — and without a steady stream of whistleblowers, any new programs are likely to stay secret. As Calo told The Verge, “It’s very difficult for the public to resist surveillance that they don’t know about.”"
"Ryan Calo, a technology law professor at the University of Washington who edited the new Roadmap for Robotics report, argues that the government should even consider creating a Federal Robotics Commission that could help inform policy with deep technical expertise and review computational systems to make sure they’re working within the bounds of the law.
"Like the bomb robot, such a product would raise fundamental questions about police use of force, said Elizabeth Joh, a professor at the University of California, Davis, School of Law.
When police use force, “the premise is there is an imminent danger to the police officer or to the public, but when you create a distance between the officer and the use of force that raises different questions,” said Ms. Joh.
U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing on Wednesday, November 16, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. entitled “Exploring Augmented Reality.” The hearing will examine the emergence, benefits, and implications of augmented reality technologies. Unlike virtual reality that creates a wholly simulated reality, augmented reality attempts to superimpose images and visual data on the physical world in an intuitive way.
• Mr. Brian Blau, Research Vice President, Gartner
The University of Washington School of Law is delighted to announce a public workshop on the law and policy of artificial intelligence, co-hosted by the White House and UW’s Tech Policy Lab. The event places leading artificial intelligence experts from academia and industry in conversation with government officials interested in developing a wise and effective policy framework for this increasingly important technology. The event is free and open to the public but requires registration. -
CIS Affilate Scholar Ryan Calo wil be part of a panel titled "Understanding the Implications of Open Data".
How can open data promote trust in government without creating a transparent citizenry?
The University of Washington School of Law is delighted to announce a public workshop on the law and policy of artificial intelligence, co-hosted by the White House and UW’s Tech Policy Lab. The event places leading artificial intelligence experts from academia and industry in conversation with government officials interested in developing a wise and effective policy framework for this increasingly important technology.
Simon Jack reports from Seattle on robots at work. From the Boeing factory where robots make planes to a clothes shop where a robot helps him buy a new pair of jeans. Plus Ryan Calo, professor of law at the University of Washington, grapples with the question of who to blame when robots go wrong, and whether there is such a thing as robot rights.
There are a million ways people might use drones in the future, from deliveries and police work to journalism. But in this episode, we’re going to talk about consumer drones — something that you or I might use for ourselves. What does the world look like when everybody with a smart phone also has a drone?
"“We don’t need to get to this crazy world in which robots are trying to take over in order for there to be really difficult, interesting complex legal questions,” says Ryan Calo, professor of law at the University of Washington, “That’s happening right now.”
Here’s a sample:
“How do we make sure these drones are not recording things that they shouldn’t," Calo says, "and those things aren’t winding up .... on Amazon servers,or somehow getting out to the public or to law enforcement?"