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: The New York Times published most of the rest of my comments on Bits Blog. Thanks!
I was quoted in a cover story in today's New York Times as saying, essentially, that law enforcement was "just trying to do their job" in pushing for greater subpoena power. This particular remark was an aside, made if anything to soften the impression that I was overly critical of the government. For instance, I lamented that consumers do not understand the state of the electronic privacy law and spoke about the dangers of dragnet or otherwise excessive surveillance. (Presumably I am one of the unnamed "[e]lectronic privacy and civil rights advocates" that worries "because the WikiLeaks court order gained such widespread attention, it could have a chilling effect on people’s speech on the Internet.")
I did not mean to imply that we should not push back against government and in fact praised Google and Twitter for having done so. I did offer that the government's purpose in pushing for greater surveillance power was not to erode civil liberties for its own sake, but in order to protect Americans by detecting and punishing crimes. But the gist of my remarks was that we need more protection, not less. Some of my talking points appear below for context. Read more » about The Problems Of Web Surveillance: Some Context For My Quote In The New York Times
Affiliate scholar Marvin Ammori offers eight good reasons why the United States should not prosecute Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. I mostly agree with Ammori’s analysis and write to emphasize one point: an Assange trial, regardless of outcome, would help the government gloss over one of the worst security breaches in modern history. And the First Amendment could supply this distraction’s brightest fireworks.
The website Wikileaks recently published hundreds of thousands of confidential State Department cables. These communications apparently reveal the details of conversations with, and personal impressions and assessments of, foreign leaders and diplomats. Many fear that the leak will undermine international relations in profound and unknowable ways. One of the unintended consequence of the leak, however, may be to strengthen the case for a national consumer privacy law. Read more » about Wikileaks: Lessons For Consumer Privacy
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 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
"In response to the DIY science show we posted yesterday, Ryan Calo, an Assistant Professor at the School of Law and Faculty Director of the Tech Policy Lab at the University of Washington, reached out and said he thought the movie Her was being misconstrued." Read more » about A Robotics Expert Discusses Love in the Digital Age
"To help perform such complex calculations and weighty value choices, we support exploring Ryan Calo’s proposal for engaging ethical review boards to vet and clear Big Data projects. Such boards, which Calo calls “Consumer Subject Review Boards,” although they need not be restricted to the consumer context, will draw on the experience gained by institutional review boards (IRB) that currently safeguard research involving human subjects." Read more » about How To Solve the President’s Big Data Challenge
"“When it rolls out, you will see all this utility for it,” said Ryan Calo, an assistant professor of law at the University of Washington in Seattle. “And at some point the economic incentives will come into play and it won’t be pretty.”" Read more » about Another Super Bowl Ad Fest, This Time on the Cellphone
"We are at the start of a massive shift; As Calo describes it, “The truth is that we are only beginning to understand how vast asymmetries of information coupled with the unilateral power to design the legal and visual terms of the transaction could alter the consumer landscape.”" Read more » about How Advertisers Can Use Your Personal Information To Make You Pay Higher Prices
""This particular instance perfectly exemplifies a variety of concerns that people have about … vulnerability-based marketing," Calo said. "Think about it. … The level of specificity. It's not just that they had a kid that passed away. It's the daughter, it's the method. It's just subsumed into that very short 'Daughter Killed In Car Crash.'"" Read more » about OfficeMax sends dad letter with line, 'Daughter Killed In Car Crash'
8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast and Registration
9:00 – 9:15 a.m.
Welcome and Opening Remarks Read more » about Taking Responsibility for One’s Own Data Privacy and Security–Is it Possible, and How?
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? Read more » about Open Data: Addressing Privacy, Security, and Civil Rights Challenges
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
9:00 am Read more » about We Robot 2015
Date/Time: Wednesday, March 25, 12:00 p.m.
Location: Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA
A Brave New Era? Or, Back to the Future? Are we in 1934? 1993? Or, 2015? The FCC’s order on the open internet – What did the FCC really do and what will it mean for internet service providers, online music and video companies, e-commerce companies, transit providers and consumers? Read more » about Pacific Northwest Chapter Luncheon
Keynote Lecture, Reilly 30th Anniversary Conference
Ryan Calo, UW School of Law
The Past, Present, and Future of Robotic Regulation
Robots have been with us for some time, largely hidden away from daily life. Today robots are leaving the factory and the battlefield and entering our hospitals, hotels, highways, and skies. This talk addresses how the law has addressed robots in the past, how the law is addressing drones, driverless cars, and other robots today, and how law and legal institutions might address this transformative technology going forward. Read more » about The Past, Present, and Future of Robotic Regulation
The Federal Aviation Administration has released long-awaited proposed rules to regulate commercial drone use. The rules would allow anyone over 17 to take a test to get permission to fly a commercial drone without needing a pilot's license, a key concern of the drone industry.
Commercial drones would have to fly below 500 feet, only during daylight, and always be visible to their operators. Read more » about Proposed drone rules allow limited access for some businesses
The Federal Aviation Administration has unveiled a long-awaited proposal for rules governing the use of small drones. If approved, the rules could expand the use of drones throughout the country. Read more » about FAA Proposal On Drones Highlights Safety Over Privacy Concerns
Listen to the full interview at Marketplace Tech.
"Calo recently signed an open letter that detailed his and others’ concerns over AI’s rapid progress. The letter was published by the Future of Life Institute, a research organization studying the potential risks posed by AI. The letter has since been endorsed by scientists, CEOs, researchers, students and professors connected to the tech world. Read more » about A responsible approach to artificial intelligence
Listen to the full interview with Ryan Calo at BBC The Inquiry.
Billions of dollars are pouring into the latest investor craze: artificial intelligence. But serious scientists like Stephen Hawking have warned that full AI could spell the end of the human race. How seriously should we take the warnings that ever-smarter computers could turn on us? Our expert witnesses explain the threat, the opportunities and how we might avoid being turned into paperclips. Read more » about Should We Fear Artificial Intelligence?