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New Tech/Law Series to Explore Surveillance, Privacy & Bias

Emerging technologies and the legal and policy challenges surrounding them are the focal points of a new lecture series beginning this fall. A joint collaboration between Cornell Computing and Information Science (CIS) and Cornell Law, the Tech/Law Colloquium is billed as a series of dialogues with thinkers engaged in cutting-edge research on the intersections between law and technology. Surveillance, privacy, algorithmic bias – these are just some of the legal and ethical concerns to be discussed during this hybrid public lecture and course. The lecture portion will be held from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Tuesdays in Gates Hall G01 (unless otherwise noted) and is open to all Cornell community members and the general public.

 “There’s a lot of excitement about upcoming policy questions around emerging technology, particularly the development of artificial intelligence and the need to develop stronger policy on how to govern it,” said course instructor Karen Levy, an assistant professor in the Department of Information Science and associated faculty member at the Cornell Law School. “These colloquium speakers are thinking about how to best govern emerging technologies, how they challenge legal and policy frameworks, and how to mediate their risks while reaping their benefits.”

Kicking off the Tech/Law Colloquium will be Arvind Narayanan, an assistant professor of computer science at Princeton, who will present “Uncovering Commercial Surveillance on the Web” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 5, in Gates Hall G01. Narayanan will share how he and his colleagues within the Princeton Web Transparency Project explore what exactly data companies collect from web users, how they collect that information and what they do with it. Filling out the semester colloquium schedule are varied technology, legal, and policy scholars, including Elizabeth Joh (University of California-Davis), Woodrow Hartzog (Northeastern University), Solon Barocas (Cornell) and James Grimmelmann (Cornell Tech).

Levy brings a unique and interdisciplinary leadership to the colloquium and her students. Her research generally explores how rules and technologies interact to regulate behavior, with surveillance, bias and data collection among some of her primary themes. Recently, she’s explored digital surveillance in the workplace, the potentially negative impacts of Big Data on low-income Americans, and how Uber’s rider-driven rating system allows for race and gender bias.

All talks will be recorded and available here.

The fall schedule is as follows.

September 5 – Arvind Narayanan (Computer Science, Princeton University) – “Uncovering Commercial Surveillance on the Web”

September 12  – Elizabeth Joh (Law, University of California-Davis) – “The Undue Influence of Surveillance Technology Companies on Policing”

September 19 – Woodrow Hartzog (Law, Northeastern University) – “Privacy’s Blueprint: The Battle to Control the Design of New Technologies”

September 26 – Jennifer Doleac (Public Policy/Economics, University of Virginia), "The Deterrent Effects of DNA Databases: Evidence from the US and Denmark"

October 3 – Solon Barocas (Information Science, Cornell)–  “Regulating Inscrutable Systems”

October 24 – James Grimmelmann (Law, Cornell Tech) – “The Structure and Interpretation of Legal Programs”

October 31 – Fred Schneider (Computer Science, Cornell) – “A Doctrine of Public Cybersecurity”

November 7 – Ifeoma Ajunwa (Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell) – “Hiring by Algorithm”

November 14 – Deirdre Mulligan (Information/Law, University of California—Berkeley), talk TBA

November 28 – Mark Latonero (Data & Society Research Institute/Communication, University of Southern California) – “Technological Interventions in the Refugee/Migration Crisis”

Louis DiPietro is the communications coordinator for Information Science.