Woodrow Hartzog is an Assistant Professor at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. His research focuses on privacy, human-computer interaction, online communication, and electronic agreements. He holds a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an LL.M. in intellectual property from the George Washington University Law School, and a J.D. from Samford University. He previously worked as an attorney in private practice and as a trademark attorney for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He also served as a clerk for the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
I have just uploaded a new essay about online privacy to SSRN that will appear in Volume 46 of the Georgia Law Review. The essay, titled "Chain-Link Confidentiality," asserts that personal information that is shared online can be better protected if we require our confidants to make sure that their confidants are watching out for us. This strategy could help us retain control over our personal information as it moves downstream. Your comments are warmly welcome. Read more » about Chain-Link Confidentiality
Last week, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in United States v. Jones, in which the Justices held that the government's installation of a GPS device on a target's vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle's movements, constituted a Fourth Amendment search. The decision was surprisingly unanimous on this point, though concurring opinions by Justices Sotomayor and Alito potentially amplify the significance of the opinion by proposing alternate approaches to the larger problem of ubiquitous surveillance technologies and privacy in public. Given the majority opinion's narrow focus on the attachment of the device to the car, the larger issue of privacy in public remains unsettled.
Others have done an exemplary job of commenting on the decision. The dominant themes arising from the decision and analysis of the decision seem to be the (re?)injection of the concept of trespass into Fourth Amendment doctrine, signs of potential withering of the third party doctrine, and recognition that Fourth Amendment and privacy doctrine will soon enough be useless if they do not adequately protect against ever-evolving surveillance methods and technologies.
I'd like to focus on an aspect of the decision that has not shown up much in the analysis of the case, likely because it was never explicitly mentioned in the text. Although the word obscurity does not appear anywhere in United States v. Jones, I think the decision, particularly Justice Sotomayor's concurring opinion, supports the idea that the obscurity of our personal information is worth protecting. Read more » about Three Cheers for Obscurity, an Unspoken Beneficiary of United States v. Jones
Co-authored with Evan Selinger.
Until recently, concerns over facial recognition technologies were largely theoretical. Only a few companies could create databases of names and faces large enough to identify significant portions of the population by sight. These companies had little motivation to widely exploit this technology in invasive ways. Read more » about Opinion: It's time for an about-face on facial recognition
Co-authored with Evan Selinger.
Some people argue that the Digital Age has eviscerated obscurity. They say shifts in the technological and economic landscapes have forever changed society.
Their argument is that a tipping point has occurred; it’s now too late to stop others from collecting, aggregating, and analyzing nearly every aspect of our data trail, and profiting from a steady stream of intrusive privacy invasions. Read more » about Why you have the right to obscurity
Social Media is always updating to give people more. More features like video and picture sharing. More freedom to use third-party apps. More capacity to store more data and make more connections. More platforms so we can use one service while loading another.
Paradoxically, the future of social media is also about providing less. Sometimes the best social media design will constrain invasive and harmful practices. If we want online social interaction to be safe and sustainable, we should embrace the limitations. Read more » about Social Media Needs Limitations Not Choices
Co-authored by Danielle Citron and Woodrow Hartzog.
Revenge-pornography websites are a reminder that preying on the vulnerable has long been big business. And while various laws protect people against scam artists, extortionists, manipulators, and other unscrupulous enterprises, the law has not been able to keep up with all malicious businesses. Read more » about The Decision That Could Finally Kill the Revenge-Porn Business
"Many different existing legal regimes will be able to competently address problems posed by robots without having to settle on a standard definition,” Woodrow Hartzog, an assistant law professor with a specialization in robotics at Samford University, told me. “However, robots might also present new challenges that require new rules. If those rules are going to be limited to certain technologies, the decision will have to be made as to whether a definition of what a robot is will be necessary.”" Read more » about The Sheer Difficulty of Defining What a Robot Is
Woodrow Hartzog, a law professor at Samford University and noted expert on the FTC, argued that a decision against the commission could harm consumers. Read more » about Regulator accused of overstepping on cybersecurity enforcement
But the Internet is a difficult place to police. "The law is frankly very ill-suited to respond to that," says Woodrow Hartzog, an associate professor at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law. "It doesn't really offer a great tool to respond to unwanted attention." Read more » about Internet Memes And 'The Right To Be Forgotten'
"To the contrary, Woodrow Hartzog of Stanford’s Cumberland School of Law stepped out of the line established by the expert testimony preceding his. He cautioned against limiting consumer breach notification based on malicious intent, calling harm triggers dubious because it is difficult to draw a line of causation between stolen data and future harm. Meeting the burden of proof that harm is likely, Hartzog said, is nearly impossible. Read more » about House Takes First Steps on Federal Data Breach Law
"Hearing witness Woodrow Hartzog, an associate professor at the Cumberland School of Law, all but dismissed the claim that businesses can't comply with a federal standard in addition to state standards. "The differences can be overstated," he said. "I've heard it compared to apples to oranges -- I think it' s more like Fiji to Red Delicious apples."" Read more » about Happy Data Privacy Day. Legally speaking, you’re mostly on your own.
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
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
For more information and to register please visit: http://www.siliconflatirons.com/events.php?id=1381
What harms are privacy laws designed to prevent? How are people injured when corporations, governments, or other individuals collect, disclose, or use information about them in ways that defy expectations, prior agreements, formal rules, or settled norms? How has technology changed the nature of privacy harm? Read more » about The New Frontiers of Privacy Harm
DARC is a multidisciplinary conference about Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and drones—with an emphasis on civilian applications.
Attendees will take part in a far-ranging exploration of these technologies and see firsthand the latest advancements in aerial robotics. In addition to looking at the cultural impact, legal challenges, and business potential, we’ll also examine specific applications for drones including: agriculture, policing, wildlife conservation, weather, mapping, logistics, and more. Read more » about Drones & Aerial Robotics Conference
Watch the full video at the Energy & Commerce Committee website.
Woodrow Hartzog, Associate Professor Cumberland School of Law
See more at: http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/what-are-elements-sound-data-bre...
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
Listen to the full radio show (in German) at Deutschlandradio.
"On the other hand: even algorithms can make mistakes. You will eventually written by humans. And just legal texts can be difficult in a formalized language to translate. They are, says Woodraw Hartzog, just not made for it to be automated. And they are not made to be enforced to one hundred percent." Read more » about Robo cops can not turn a blind eye