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.
On Thursday, July 31, 2008, the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School sought leave to file a "friend of the court" brief before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on behalf of two of the original designers of the protocols that govern the transfer of information across the Internet, M.I.T. computer scientists Dr. David Clark and Dr. David Reed.
J.B. White, my former professor, has written a powerful essay (pages 98-103) on the evils of reducing the human experience to mere economics. Here is an excerpt:
"One particularly strong feature of the culture of consumption is an immense and relentless campaign, so pervasive and so normalized as to have become invisible, to persuade the public to accept and act on its premises. I refer here to the world of consumer advertising, especially to its apotheosis in television. This kind of advertising persuades people not only to buy this or that item, but more importantly, to accept and live by the whole infantile dream of the consumer economy. It is only in a narrow sense that advertisements compete with each other; in a deeper way they reinforce each other constantly."
Professor White retires this year following a long and distinguished career at Chicago and Michigan, where he held a joint appoint at the law school and English department. The full essay will appear in a book to be published by the University of Michigan Press in early 2009.
It’s official: Wired Magazine has placed worrying about privacy on Gmail in the final column marked “expired.” (What’s “wired”? Worrying about privacy on Google Health.) Yet here I am, continuing to fret over Google’s eons-old practice of scanning incoming and outgoing messages in order to display contextual ads.
In my defense, I don’t think some evil Google Adwords employee is sitting in his brightly lit hexagonical reading through my email and twisting an ironic mustache. I recognize that it’s a dispassionate (for now) computer that scans for keywords and selects contextual ads.
My concern has to do with competition: Gmail puts Google’s advertisers in a position to use the content of their competitors’ emails to compete with them.
Wired's Threat Level is reporting that a court (the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York) has ordered Google "to turn over every record of every video watched by YouTube users, including users' names and IP addresses, to Viacom, which is suing Google for allowing clips of its copyright videos to appear on YouTube." (I believe the author means to refer to “user IDs,” not the proper names of the users.)
The Electronic Frontier Foundation argues on its website that such disclosure would violate the Video Privacy Protection Act. More disturbing still is the threat to a user's right to review material – including material at the core of the First Amendment – anonymously. See, e.g., Julie Cohen, “A Right to Read Anonymously: A Closer Look at 'Copyright Management' in Cyberspace,” 28 Conn. L. Rev. 981 (1996) (available online here).
I would think it clear that Viacom and its co-plaintiff should get, if anything, just that information necessary to determine what percentage of download activity involves copyrighted works.
UPDATE: Reuters reports that Google and Viacom have reached an agreement, wherein Google will anonymize YouTube user data before turning it over.
It's tempting to view this move cynically as a dragged-out response to a long-standing complaint from the privacy community. My understanding, however, is that there has been internal debate at Google over whether to include a privacy link on the homepage for some time. One argument against such a link is that it conveys the sense that a given company respects privacy, irrespective of the actual content of the policy (which, as we know, often goes unread).
I'm not saying Google did this on purpose, but I think that many more people are likely to click on the privacy link, given that it appeared suddenly on the zealously sparse Google homepage. (Unless, of course, they get distracted by the fireworks.)
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?"