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.
Ann Bartow once criticized Daniel Solove for not providing enough “dead bodies” in his discussion of privacy. I tend to disagree that such proof is necessary. But privacy has seen a dead body recently—that of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi.
The narrative around Clementi’s tragic suicide continues to shift. The press originally reported that Clementi killed himself after his roommate invited the entire campus to view footage of Clementi having sex with another man. The Associated Press is now reporting that, according to the roommate’s defense attorney, no one but he and his friend ever saw the video.
The question of whether the defendants recorded or broadcast the web cam is highly relevant to whether there has been a privacy violation. Yet it is hardly relevant at all to the question of whether there has been a privacy harm. Read more » about Clementi And The Nature Of Privacy Harm
I don’t know that generativity is a theory, strictly speaking. It’s more of a quality. (Specifically, five qualities.) The attendant theory, as I read it, is that technology exhibits these particular, highly desirable qualities as a function of specific incentives. These incentives are themselves susceptible to various forces—including, it turns out, consumer demand and citizen fear.
The law is in a position to influence this dynamic. Thus, for instance, Comcast might have a business incentive to slow down peer-to-peer traffic and only refrain due to FCC policy. Or, as Barbara van Schewick demonstrates inter alia in Internet Architecture and Innovation, a potential investor may lack the incentive to fund a start up if there is a risk that the product will be blocked.
Similarly, online platforms like Facebook or Yahoo! might not facilitate communication to the same degree in the absence of Section 230 immunity for fear that they will be held responsible for the thousand flowers they let bloom. I agree with Eric Goldman’s recent essay in this regard: it is no coincidence that the big Internet players generally hail from these United States. Read more » about Will Robots Be 'Generative'?
Prohibition wasn’t working. President Hoover assembled the Wickersham Commission to investigate why. The Commission concluded that despite an historic enforcement effort—including the police abuses that made the Wickersham Commission famous—the government could not stop everyone from drinking. Many people, especially in certain city neighborhoods, simply would not comply. The Commission did not recommend repeal at this time, but by 1931 it was just around the corner.
Five years later an American doctor working in a chemical plant made a startling discovery. Several workers began complaining that alcohol was making them sick, causing most to stop drinking it entirely—“involuntary abstainers,” as the doctor, E.E. Williams, later put it. It turns out they were in contact with a chemical called disulfiram used in the production of rubber. Disulfiram is well-tolerated and water-soluble. Today, it is marketed as the popular anti-alcoholism drug Antabuse.
Were disulfiram discovered just a few years earlier, would federal law enforcement have dumped it into key parts of the Chicago or Los Angeles water supply to stamp out drinking for good? Probably not. It simply would not have occurred to them. No one was regulating by architecture then. To dramatize this point: when New York City decided twenty years later to end a string of garbage can thefts by bolting the cans to the sidewalk, the decision made the front page of the New York Times. The headline read: “City Bolts Trash Baskets To Walks To End Long Wave Of Thefts.”
In an important but less discussed chapter in The Future of the Internet, Jonathan Zittrain explores our growing taste and capacity for “perfect enforcement."
Readers are likely familiar with the cyberlaw mantra that “code is law.” What’s striking is that since Lawrence Lessig published Code in 1999, relatively little has been written about the dangers of regulation by architecture, particularly outside of the context of intellectual property. Many legal scholars—Neil Katyal, Elizabeth Joh, Edward Cheng—have instead argued for more regulation by architecture on the basis that it is less discriminatory or more effective. Read more » about (Im)Perfect Enforcement
My new paper explores what is unique about privacy harm. How does privacy harm differ from other injury? And what do we gain by defining its boundaries and core properties? You can download the paper here; abstract after the jump. Your thoughts warmly welcome. Read more » about The Boundaries of Privacy Harm
ACM Computers Freedom Privacy is in its 20th year. This year was exciting to me in that robots entered the mix. My panel on the topic featured forecaster and essayist Paul Saffo, EFF's Brad Templeton, philosopher Patrick Lin, and was moderated by Wired's Gary Wolf. You can find a video recording of our panel here. I also spoke to the Dr. Katherine Albrecht Radio Show, which was broadcasting live from the conference. Click here to listen.
A recent incident on a commercial airliner raises an interesting question: can an airline bar you from taking pictures on their plane? Read more » about Airlines Can Keep You From Snapping, But Not Sharing Photos
""I don't think (the Boston bombing) will reframe the surveillance debate, and people will persist in their skepticism (of drones) even after this event," Calo said." Read more » about Boston bombings show future use for drones
"Drones put a fine point on that sense of vulnerability, and as eminent drone theorist and law professor Ryan Calo argues, can thus be seen as "privacy catalysts" that may well precipitate more comprehensive privacy protections." Read more » about Privacy Concerns Shouldn’t Ground Journalism Drones
""You could use these to directly interact with the brain," said Ryan Calo, assistant law professor at the University of Washington focused on privacy and robotics, in a recent presentation at Stanford. "You could get up to all sorts of mischief."" Read more » about Brain hack: Researchers fear attacks on the mind
"One interesting idea is to widen the liability gap to not just self-driving cars, but robots in general. Ryan Calo, in an essay titled “Open Robotics,” proposed two important solutions." Read more » about Engineers, Manufacturers Consider Liability With Self-Driving Cars
The Future of Privacy Forum, in partnership with the Application Developers Alliance and the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, will host the App Developer Privacy Summit to discuss “The Complex App Ecosystem.” The event will examine the important privacy challenges and opportunities facing the app ecosystem and will include app developers, platforms, advertisers and privacy experts who will discuss how to ensure a trusted consumer environment for continued growth in the dynamic app market. Read more » about App Developer Privacy Summit
As part of Stanford University's Parents' Weekend, Ryan Calo (Director of Privacy and Robotics) will be giving a talk about how drones could save privacy law.
The Center for Internet and Society (CIS) is once again participating in National Robotics Week, organized by the Robotics Caucus of the U.S. Congress and leading robotics companies, schools, and organizations. In connection to NRW, Stanford University will hold a Robot Block Party on April 11, 2012. This event will showcase cutting edge robotics technology from throughout the Bay Area. Read more » about Robot Block Party
Learn about the Center for Internet and Society. Come meet CIS and hear about our exciting work and ways to get involved. Learn about the Fair Use Project, Consumer Privacy Project, and more. Lunch will be provided. RSVP for this free event today. Read more » about Meet the Center for Internet and Society
On April 10, 2013, Stanford's Center for Law and the Biosciences welcomed CIS Affiliate Scholar Ryan Calo to campus for a discussion on law and emerging technology, with an emphasis on spyware for your brain. Read more » about The Center for Law and the Biosciences presents Ryan Calo
Hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on “The Future of Drones in America: Law Enforcement and Privacy Considerations” Read more » about The Future of Drones in America: Law Enforcement and Privacy Considerations
CIS Affiliate Scholar Ryan Calo interviews Neal Stephenson, author of Readme. Topics include privacy, virtual economics and security. Beth Cantrell, Greg Lastowka, and Tadayoshi Kohno also included in panel interview. This event was hosted by the University of Washington Law School. Read more » about Open Book Club: A Conversation With Neal Stephenson
It is not hard to imagine why robots raise privacy concerns. Practically by definition, robots are equipped with the ability to sense, process, and record the world around them. Robots can go places humans cannot go, see things humans cannot see. Robots are, first and foremost, a human instrument. And after industrial manufacturing, the principal use to which we’ve put that instrument has been surveillance. This talk explores the various ways that robots implicate privacy and why, absent conscientious legal and design interventions, we may never realize the potential of this transformative technology. Read more » about Robots, Privacy & Society- Cal Poly