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.
Over the last year, the FBI has had harsh words for Apple, accusing the tech giant of endangering human lives and aiding criminals by turning on encryption by default on the iPhone. When Google announced it would add the feature to Android, meaning that smartphone users would need to unlock their phones for police to be able to go through them, government officials and law enforcement representatives similarly freaked out.
"“[Social networks] can censor more or less anything they want and it also have incredible abilities to leave up as much as they wants to leave up,” said Ryan Calo, professor of law at the University of Washington and co-director of the school’s Tech Policy Lab."
"Shouting down web-based terrorist recruiting cells, that’s a good thing, said Ryan Calo, professor of law at the University of Washington and co-director of the Tech Policy Lab.
Porn on Twitter, maybe not such a good thing, he said. It could be offensive to religious Muslims (or Christians or Jews), the overwhelming majority of whom are not terrorists and want nothing to do with sexually explicit images.
"“Chatbots may be able to get us to say more about ourselves than an ordinary website,” says Ryan Calo, codirector of the Tech Policy Lab at the University of Washington.
"Even the stereo, which was affected by Lexus's update, can create an unsafe situation, robotics law expert Ryan Calo told the Monitor. For example, buggy software might cause the radio to blare suddenly, startling the driver and causing an accident.
Tesla recently introduced a software update to control the whole vehicle, Dr. Calo tells the Monitor, although he says Lexus' update is technically not critical to safety.
The result, he says, is that "The line between control-critical and entertainment systems is not perfectly clean.""
"“The public should have an accurate mental model of what we mean when we say artificial intelligence,” says Ryan Calo, who teaches law at University of Washington. Calo spoke last week at the first of four workshops the White House hosts this summer to examine how to address an increasingly AI-powered world.
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?
CIS Affiliate Scholars Peter Asaro, Ryan Calo and Woodrow Hartzog will all be participating in this two-day conference.
Registration is open for We Robot 2015 and we have a great program planned:
Friday, April 10
Registration and Breakfast
Welcome Remarks: Dean Kellye Testy, University of Washington School of Law
Introductory Remarks: Ryan Calo, Program Committee Chair
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?"