The New Frontiers of Privacy Harm

January 17, 2014 9:00 am to 5:30 pm

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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?

These questions loom large in debates over privacy law. Often, they are answered skeptically. The President of the United States justifies massive NSA surveillance programs by arguing that non-content surveillance is not very harmful. Advertisers resist calls for aggressive forms of Do Not Track by arguing that the way they track online behavior creates little risk of harm. Judges dismiss lawsuits brought by users suing services that suffer massive data breaches, for lack of harm.

Meanwhile, many privacy law scholars and advocates do not speak consistently, if they speak at all, about privacy harm. Some prefer to talk about "problems" or "conflicts" not harms. Others point primarily to abstract, societal harms such as chilling effects or harms to dignity or individual autonomy. Many of these people have tried to move the conversation away from harm and what they see as crabbed, tort-centric approaches to privacy protection.

It is time to revisit old conversations about harm. New practices and technologies raise new threats of harm. The fear of Big Data techniques (for example in the public debate over the pregnancy prediction program of the retailer Target) have inspired new theories of harm. Economists and computer scientists have developed new ways of measuring privacy harm. Regulators have adopted new ways of talking about harm.

Join the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship on Friday, January 17, 2014, from 9:00 AM - 4:15 PM as we venture into the New Frontiers of Privacy Harm. We will assemble thought leaders and top practitioners and regulators for a diverse and rich set of conversations about privacy harm.

Welcome and Opening Remarks 9:00am - 9:15am
  • Paul Ohm
    Associate Professor of Law
    University of Colorado
  • Phil Weiser
    University of Colorado Law School
    Executive Director
    Silicon Flatirons Center
Panel One: Is Government Surveillance Harmful? 9:15am - 10:45am
  • Paul Ohm
    Associate Professor of Law
    University of Colorado


  • Susan Freiwald
    University of San Francisco School of Law
  • Omer Tene
    Vice President of Research and Education
    Vice Dean
    College of Management School of Law, Rishon Le Zion, Israel


  • Bryan Cunningham
    Bryan Cunningham Law
  • Todd Hinnen
    Perkins Coie
  • Ben Wizner
    ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project
Break 10:45am - 11:00am
Panel Two: Is Commercial Tracking Harmful? 11:00am - 12:15pm



  • Edward Felten
    Center for Information Technology Policy
    Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs
    Princeton University
  • Fran Maier
    Founder and Chair of the Board
Lunch 12:15pm - 1:00pm
Fireside Chat 1:00pm - 1:40pm
  • Julie Brill
    Federal Trade Commission
  • David Medine
    Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
Panel Three: Measuring Harm and the Risk of Harm 1:45pm - 3:00pm
  • Meg Ambrose
    Assistant Professor, Communication, Culture, and Technology (CCT)
    Georgetown University


  • Ryan Calo
    Assistant Professor of Law
    University of Washington
  • Deven McGraw
    Director of the Health Privacy Project
    Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Christopher Wolf
    Hogan Lovells


  • Adam Thierer
    Senior Research Fellow
    Mercatus Center
    George Mason University
Break 3:00pm - 3:15pm
Panel Four: Tailoring Solutions to Privacy Harm Through Regulation, Architecture, and Self-Regulation 3:15pm - 4:30pm
  • Harry Surden
    Associate Professor of Law
    University of Colorado


  • Woodrow Hartzog
    Assistant Professor
    Cumberland School of Law
    Samford University


  • Alvaro Bedoya
    Chief Counsel, Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law
    United States Senate
  • Michael Hintze
    Chief Privacy Counsel and Assistant General Counsel
    Microsoft Corporation
  • Rob Sherman
    Manager of Privacy and Public Policy
  • Ashkan Soltani
    Independent Researcher and Consultant
    Soltani LLC
  • David Zetoony
    Bryan Cave LLP
Sponsored by Palantir
4:30pm - 5:30pm
Wolf Law Building, Room 101
2450 Kittredge Loop
Boulder, CO

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