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.
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.
On December 14, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission settled a complaint with the company running the adult finder site Ashley Madison over the 2015 data breach that exposed the personal data of more than 36 million users and highlighted the site’s unfair and deceptive practices.
Are you an OkCupid user? Would you consider the data on your profile public—fair game for anyone to download and share with the rest of the world?
Few things represent the age of social media better than posting a selfie. We share these ubiquitous self-portraits with such an urgency you’d think we’d cease to exist if we stopped producing them at a rapid and ongoing rate. Think about taking a trip to a gorgeous location. If you exercise “selfie-control” and don’t post a picture of yourself at a place like the beach, did the exquisite voyage really happen?
"According to university law professors Woodrow Hartzog and Danielle Citron, “It is the first such complaint by the FTC that involved bots designed to actively deceive consumers.” It’s one thing to create a Twitter chatbot that acquires hundreds of followers who might not know it isn’t a real person. It’s quite another to maliciously program a bot to commit a crime."
"On Feb. 16, eight privacy and security law professors—Kenneth A. Bamberger, Woodrow Hartzog, Chris Jay Hoofnagle, William McGeveran, Deirdre K. Mulligan, Paul Ohm, Daniel J. Solove and Peter Swire—filed a brief in support of the FTC.
"Woodrow Hartzog, Starnes Professor of Law at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, told Bloomberg BNA that the amended act “makes some very important changes, but like with most new pieces of privacy legislation, many important terms will need to be more fully defined and interpreted.”
Hartzog said that “under the old law, the privacy rules were largely conceived of as obligations on businesses.” Companies will probably see a rise in individuals requesting access to personal data and seeking to delete or correct that information, he said."
"One outstanding privacy commentator was Prof Woodrow Hartzog of Samford University, Alabama. Prof Hartzog is the Starnes Professor of Law at Cumberland School of Law, as well as being an Affiliate Scholar at The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School and he spoke about his upcoming book - Privacy's Blueprint: The battle to control the design of new technology.
"“The law should require, not just encourage, reasonable data security practices from companies that collect, process, and share personal information,” said law professor Woodrow Hartzog in a hearing in 2015. “This will fortify the protection of personal information in the United States and help ensure that fewer breach notifications need to be sent at all.”"
Robots are starting to look suspiciously familiar. Increasingly sophisticated robots designed to resemble us are striking up more and more symbiotic relationships with humans, at home as our companions and at our workplaces as colleagues.
Human-robot interactions will continue to evolve as robotic technology transforms the way we see our creations and the way they react to us. But as machines cease acting like machines and become more integrated into our lives, how will we feel about them? And, dare we ask, how will they feel about us?
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
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
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.
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?
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.
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."