Category Archives: Talks & Conferences

Debating Surveillance Next Monday

click for larger image

Click above for a larger image. Key facts are that it’s Monday March 31st, 12:30-1:50pm in the SAC-Law School Multipurpose room. And they’ll feed you lunch!

Posted in Law: Privacy, Talks & Conferences | 1 Comment

Speaking at American University on Friday

I’ll be presenting my latest draft paper, now entitled Regulating Mass Surveillance as Privacy Pollution: Learning from Environmental Impact Statements at a faculty workshop at the American University Washington College of Law at lunch time on Friday. So I’m off to DC early Thursday morning.

This will likely be my last chance to learn what I may need to do to punch up the paper before I send it out to law reviews, which I plan to do very soon. I’ll post a link to a draft of it here once I’ve incorporated the next round of comments.

As far as sending papers to law reviews is concerned, I’ve actually been very spoiled: almost all my work for the past decade has been book chapters or conference papers, so I have not had to send them out en mass to law reviews the way most law professors do most of the time. In fact, the last time I sent a paper out to law reviews seems to be … in 2003. (Has it really been that long?) And in that case, I was even luckier, as that paper was picked up by the Harvard Law Review.

I really think this is the best paper I’ve written in many years; that of course doesn’t necessarily tell one much about where it will end up. It isn’t short (23,000 words and counting), which is unfashionable. And I think it has two ideas, which could make it unwieldy. The political feasibility of what I propose is certainly open to question. But I think it might be somewhat original.

After this, there’s another paper in the pipeline on a very different topic. It’s good to think that I’m over the productivity hiccup caused by my aortic dissection almost exactly four years ago. Coincidentally, I had been scheduled to fly to DC on Feb. 12, 2010, the day I collapsed, but the conference I was planning to attend was snowed out. Had I gone, my aorta likely would have burst in the air, or I would have likely not gone to a hospital quickly enough had it happened in DC. In either scenario, I’d be dead as once it bursts you have less than an hour to be treated or it’s curtains.

So I guess I’m hoping it is the 2003 history, and not the 2010 history, that repeats itself.

Posted in Personal, Talks & Conferences | 2 Comments

Terrific We Robot 2014 Program

Registration is now open for We Robot 2014, April 4-5 here at U. Miami. Tickets are free, but seats are limited.

We have a terrific program planned:

Friday, April 4th

8:00 am Check-in and Breakfast

8:30 am Introductions
Welcome and Introduction of Sponsors
A Few Words from Our Sponsors
Introductory Remarks: A. Michael Froomkin, Program Chair

8:45 am Regulating The Loop
Meg Leta Ambrose, Communication, Culture, and Technology, Georgetown University
Discussant: Elizabeth Grossman, Microsoft Corp.

10:00 am Break

10:15 am Rethinking Models of Responsibility for Semi-Autonomous Robots
Jason Millar, Philosophy, Carleton University
Discussant: Peter Asaro, School of Media Studies, The New School for Public Engagement, Stanford Law School, International Committee for Robot Arms Control

11:30 am Break

11:45 am Robots as Labor Creating Devices: Robotic Technologies and the Expansion of the Second Shift
Ann Bartow, Pace Law School
Discussant: Jodi Forlizzi, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University

1:00 pm Lunch

2:00 pm Panel on Robots and Social Justice
Moderator: Kate Darling, MIT Media Lab

  • The Canny Valley: Law, Ethics, and the Design of Robots Increasingly Able to Mimic and Invite Affection
    Kenneth Anderson, Washington College of Law, American University, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University, The Brookings Institution
  • Consumer Cloud Robotics and the Fair Information Practice Principles: The Policy Risks and Opportunities Ahead
    Kris Hauser, Computer Science and Informatics, Indiana University
    Andrew A. Proia, Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, Indiana University
    Drew T. Simshaw, Center for Law, Ethics, and Applied Research in Health Information, Indiana University
  • Professional Ethics for HRI Research, Development, and Marketing
    Laurel D. Riek, Computer Science and Engineering, University of Notre Dame
    Don Howard, Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
  • Robots in School: Disability and the Promise (or Specter?) of Radical Educational Equality
    Aaron Jay Saiger, Fordham University School of Law

3:45 pm Break

4:00 pm Parallel Demonstrations

  • TeleRobotics
    Howard Jay Chizeck, Electrical Engineering & Bioengineering, University of Washington
  • Automated Algorithmic Software Trading Robots: Sousveillance, and Continuous Cloud Sync Audit Trails
    Avi Rushinek, University of Miami School of Business
    Sara Rushinek University of Miami School of Business

5:00 pm Survey: “So, What do YOU think a robot is?” A short quiz for the audience.
Bill Smart, Mechanical Engineering, Oregon State University

5:30 pm Reception

7:00 pm Birds of a Feather Sessions
@ Local restaurants


Saturday, April 5th

8:00 am Check-in and Breakfast

8:30 am Chief Justice John Roberts is a Robot
Ian Kerr, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Medicine & Department of Philosophy, University of Ottawa
Carissima Mathen, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Discussant: Jack Balkin, Yale Law School

9:45 am Break

10:00 am When Robot Eyes Are Watching You: The Law & Policy of Automated Communications Surveillance
Kevin Bankston, New America Foundation
Amie Stepanovich, Electronic Privacy Information Center
Discussant: Neil Richards, Washington University School of Law

11:15 am Break

11:30 am Robotics and the New Cyberlaw
Ryan Calo, University of Washington School of Law
Discussant: David Post, Beasley School of Law, Temple University

12:45 pm Lunch

1:45 pm Prison of Our Own Making: An Expanded View of Automated Law Enforcement
Col. Lisa A. Shay, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, United States Military Academy
Woodrow Hartzog, Cumberland School of Law, Samford University
Col. John C. Nelson, English & Philosophy, United States Military Academy
Col. Gregory Conti, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science & Information Technology Operations Center, United States Military Academy
Discussant: Mary Anne Franks, University of Miami School of Law

3:00 pm Break

3:15 pm Panel on Domestic Drones
Moderator: Dan Siciliano, Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford Law School

  • Robots, Micro-Airspaces, and the Future of “Public Space”
    Peter Asaro, New School for Public Engagement, Stanford Law School, International Committee for Robot Arms Control
  • Risk, Product Liability Trends, Triggers, and Insurance in Commercial Aerial Robots
    David K. Breyer, Digital Risk Resources
    Donna A. Dulo, U.S. Department of Defense
    Gale A. Townsley, Severson & Werson PC
    Stephen S. Wu, Cooke Kobrick & Wu LLP
  • A Legal Framework for the Safe and Resilient Operation of Autonomous Aerial Robots
    Cameron R. Cloar, Nixon Peabody LLP
    Donna A. Dulo, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Self-Defense Against Robots
    A. Michael Froomkin, University of Miami School of Law
    Zak Colangelo, University of Miami School of Law

4:45 pm Final Remarks

Posted in Robots, Talks & Conferences | 1 Comment

Great List of Accepted Papers for We Robot 2014

I’m really proud of the great list of We Robot 2014 Accepted Papers.
I think this year’s conference is going to be the best one yet!

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Workshopping in New York on Friday

I’ve been invited to workshop a draft paper at Fordham on Friday. The series is the Center for Information Law & Policy Faculty Workshop. If you are a friendly NY-area academic and want to come hear a discussion of the current draft of “Regulating Mass Surveillance as Pollution: Learning from Environmental Impact Notices” I gather you are welcome (it’s 12:30 – 2:30) if you RSVP to Joel Reidenberg or N. Cameron Russell. They’ll send you a copy of the paper, warts and all. (I’m not giving their email here so as not to get them sp-m.)

The paper is something of a departure for me, as it’s primarily about surveillance in public places, not online.

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress. Hearing a very scary talk earlier this year about all the ways in which CUSP plans to collect data about New Yorkers is what first motivated this paper, so it should be an interesting afternoon.

Meanwhile I have two other papers in various stages of production. It’s a busy time.

Posted in Talks & Conferences | 1 Comment

Junior International Law Scholars Association Call for Papers

Colleague Markus Wagner passes along this info:

The Junior International Law Scholars Association (JILSA) is holding its annual meeting on Friday, January 31, 2014, at Berkeley Law School. JILSA is an informal network composed mostly of junior scholars at American law schools who get together annually for a self-funded workshop. Junior scholars and fellows interested in presenting works in progress at the meeting should email proposals to Jean Galbraith and Markus Wagner by Friday, November 8. Please send a working title/abstract and provide a sense of the shape the paper is in. Proposals to present early stage works are also welcome.

There is actually a whole network of excellent conferences for junior legal scholars in a variety of subjects these days. I don’t think they existed when I was junior enough to qualify — if they did, I was certainly blissfully ignorant of them.

Posted in Talks & Conferences | 1 Comment

Law Is Where Ideas and Real Life Collide First

Love that line from Wendy Grossman’s net.wars post, The opposite of zemblanity about gikii…which sounds like a fun event (inconveniently scheduled early in the Fall semester).

Here’s how the net.wars entry begins:

A lawyer walks into a bar.

A corporate1 lawyer looks around for unrecognized liabilities.

A commercial lawyer wonders if the bar’s owner wants to sell or expand.

An academic lawyer considers whether the laws that apply to the bar are appropriately framed.

An academic lawyer who goes to gikii starts speculating about the laws that will be needed in ten years’ time when the bar is staffed by robots whose embedded scanners collate customers’ brain structures, which they then print out on 3D organ printers to implant in hungry zombie kittens.

Like We Robot, gikii is lawyers riffing about the future, mixing law, technology, science fiction, and pop culture. Founded, as Richard Fisher writes in New Scientist, by Lilian Edwards and Andres Guadamuz, gikii is a safe space for speculation that, as Edwards put it earlier this week, would get you giggled at elsewhere.

Science fiction is often rightly talked about as the literature of ideas; what I hadn’t realized until first Computers, Freedom, and Privacy and then We Robot and gikii entered my consciousness is that law is where ideas and real life collide first.

(Lots more where that came from, plus links in the above.)

Incidentally, looking up zemblanity. I found this entry at World Wide Words:

In an ideal lexicographical world, every word ought to be matched with its opposite, its antonym. Ever since 1754, when Horace Walpole created serendipity — the ability to make unexpected and fortunate discoveries — it has had to survive without one. It is only recently appeared:

So what is the opposite of Serendip, a southern land of spice and warmth, lush greenery and hummingbirds, seawashed, sunbasted? Think of another world in the far north, barren, icebound, cold, a world of flint and stone. Call it Zembla. Ergo: zemblanity, the opposite of serendipity, the faculty of making unhappy, unlucky and expected discoveries by design. Serendipity and zemblanity: the twin poles of the axis around which we revolve.
Armadillo, by William Boyd, 1998.

The reference is surely to Novaya Zemlya, a group of Arctic islands owned by Russia. These were at one time commonly referred to in English as Nova Zembla, which is presumably where Mr Boyd got it from.

Here, according to the Urban Dictionary is an example of how William Boyd used the word:

The inevitable discovery of what we would rather not know.
As she pushed open the door, she knew that she would discover him in flagrante and herself in zemblanity.” — William Boyd

Apparently “Zemblanity” has already appeared in one legal judgment in Ireland in 2012.


  1. Actually that should be ‘a trial lawyer looks for accidents waiting to happen’, but never mind. []
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