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.
UPDATE: As told to Jules Polonetsky over at The Future of Privacy Forum, Capital One was engaging in "totally random" rate changes that were not related to browser type. On the other hand, according to the Wall Street Journal, Capital One was at one point using [x+1] data to calibrate what credit card offers to show.
The other day, I suggested that the facts of the Clementi suicide may perfectly illustrate why no actual transfer of information is necessary for someone to suffer a severe subjective privacy harm. (Thanks to TechDirt and PogoWasRight for the write ups.)
Just now I learned about an allegation against Capital One that the company offered someone a different lending rate on the basis of what browser he used (Chrome vs. Firefox). A similar allegation was made against Amazon, which apparently used cookies for a time to calibrate the price of DVDs.
Here you have a clear objective privacy harm: your information (browser type) is being used adversely in a tangible and unexpected way. It matters not at all whether a human being sees the information or whether a company knows "who you are." Neither personally identifying information, nor the revelation of information to a person, is necessary for there to be a privacy harm. Read more » about Browser Snobbery As Objective Privacy Harm (UPDATE)
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
I am proud to say that I helped found the Robot Block Party in Silicon Valley. Now in its fifth year, the event brings together industry, academia, and the hobbyist community to demo robots in celebration of National Robotics Week. We held the first one in Paul Brest Hall at Stanford Law School. The second, third, and fourth Robot Block Parties took place nearby at the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab (where Stanford University develops driverless cars). Each event drew at least a thousand visitors. Read more » about Even (Some) Law Firms Think Robots Are The Next Big Thing
"Ryan Calo, an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law who specializes in robotics and drones, told me that the worry about drones colliding in the air, or people being hit by them, will start to ease as drones become smarter.
“The next generation of drones, which are truly autonomous and can navigate using sensors and code, rather than people controlling them, will be much safer than the drones we’re seeing today,” Mr. Calo said in a phone interview." Read more » about Delivery Drones Grounded by F.A.A.
"Laws has to keep up with new technologies, and Ryan Calo has his eye on robot legalities, particularly with respect to policy and ethics.
For example, Calo was quoted in this New York Times piece titled "When Driverless Cars Break The Law." Spoiler alert: it's complicated. "Criminal law is going to be looking for a guilty mind, a particular mental state — should this person have known better? If you’re not driving the car, it’s going to be difficult," he said." Read more » about The Most Important People Working In Robotics Today
"But Ryan Calo, an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law, who specializes in robotics and drones, said the accidents that were occurring from private use of drones would become less common as the vehicles became safer and more autonomous. For now, fly with caution.
“From a product liability standpoint, it’s pretty straightforward,” he said. “You buy this thing, you fly it, it’s likely your fault if something goes wrong.”" Read more » about Smile! A Drone Is About to Take Your Picture
"With DiDi Plate, the threat is that the public would have access to information reserved for government officials, says professor Ryan Calo, a privacy and technology expert at the University of Washington.
“The difference is that it’s in private hands,” he says, “with the opportunity to contact you.”" Read more » about GM Wants You to Creepily Text Drivers by Scanning Their Plates
"Set aside any discussion about when and whether the data collection is justified. When one side has a lot of it, and the other none, there’s a problem.
The best argument I’ve heard for this comes from University of Washington professor Ryan Calo, who wrote a paper on the data collection being done by marketers and corporations. Read more » about 3 ways Glenn Greenwald changed how I look at privacy
Roundtable with experts Professor Ronald C. Arkin, Professor Ryan Calo, Dr. Kate Darling, Professor Illah Nourbakhsh, and Professor Noel Sharkey
Moderated by Professor Jennifer Urban
Friday, July 11, 3:30 pm
Boalt Hall Goldberg Room
Robots are quickly moving out of controlled environments into public spaces and homes, and researchers are developing artificial intelligence systems that will allow robots to make decisions autonomously. How should society plan for this transition? Read more » about Our Robot Future: The Moral, Ethical, and Legal Challenges of Ubiquitous Robotic Systems
Humans and Machines — Drones, Phones, and Robotic Friends: Where is Emergent Technology Taking Us? On June 27 at 8:30 p.m. with speakers Mary “Missy” Cummings, Ryan Calo, Ken Goldberg and moderator David Kirkpatrick.
As the landscape of high tech is increasingly modernized through applications of robotics from operating theaters to rescue missions, smarter phones that manage our lives, and flying technologies that put cameras (and weapons) in the air (if not everywhere), how will the balance of law, ethics, and relationships between humans and machines change us? Read more » about Drones, Phones, and Robotic Friends: Where is Emergent Technology Taking Us?
2013 PRIVACY PAPERS FOR POLICY MAKERS
The Future of Privacy Forum
Co-chairs Jules Polonetsky and Christopher Wolf
in conjunction with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee invite you to
“Privacy Papers for Policy Makers”
A discussion of leading privacy research Read more » about Privacy Papers for Policy Makers
CIS Affiliate Scholars Peter Asaro, Ryan Calo and Woodrow Hartzog are listed as participants for We Robot 2014. Robotics is becoming a transformative technology. We Robot 2014 builds on existing scholarship exploring the role of robotics to examine how the increasing sophistication of robots and their widespread deployment everywhere from the home, to hospitals, to public spaces, and even to the battlefield disrupts existing legal regimes or requires rethinking of various policy issues. If you are on the front lines of robot theory, design, or development, we hope to see you. Read more » about We Robot 2014
The 16th Annual Federalist Society Faculty Conference will be held on January 3-4, 2014 in New York City. The purpose of our Annual Faculty Conferences is to provide an opportunity for those interested in the Society to share ideas and scholarship with each other. Read more » about 16th Annual Federalist Society Faculty Conference
The era of cloud computing has introduced unprecedented computing power and convenience to the way we work and live. But the privacy laws that protect the content we stored in the cloud are nearly 30 years old, and were written during a time when the today’s capabilities couldn’t possibly have been anticipated. As a result, technology has emerged that does not fit within the constraints defined by the law.
This podcast features an interview with Ryan Calo, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Washington. Read more » about ECPA Limitations: Privacy Law and the Cloud
Listen to the full interview at Marketplace Tech.
"It was about consumer convenience," says Ryan Calo, a professor of internet and privacy law at the University of Washington. "The idea is that you drop a little file on a person’s computer and then you know them again when you see them." Read more » about Where all those digital cookies came from
CIS Affiliate Scholar David Levine interviews Prof. Ryan Calo of University of Washington School of Law and Woodrow Hartzog of Cumberland School of Law on robotics law. Read more » about Prof. Ryan Calo and Woodrow Hartzog - Hearsay Culture Show #213 - KZSU-FM