Category Archives: Talks & Conferences

AALS Android App Wants Ridiculous Number of Permsissons

How many permissions does a meeting app need?

The American Association of Law Schools has an Android app to help guide the perplexed through the giant list of events that is its 2015 annual meeting.

The app seems to want a ridiculous number of permissions and I decided not to install it:

Version 1.0.0 can access:

  • Device & app history
    • retrieve running apps
  • Identity
    • find accounts on the device
    • add or remove accounts
  • Calendar
    • add or modify calendar events and send email to guests without owners’ knowledge
    • read calendar events plus confidential information
  • Contacts
    • read your contacts
    • modify your contacts
  • Location
    • precise location (GPS and network-based)
    • approximate location (network-based)
  • Phone
    • directly call phone numbers
  • Photos/Media/Files
    • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
    • test access to protected storage
  • Camera
    • take pictures and videos
  • Device ID & call information
    • read phone status and identity
  • Other
    • receive data from Internet
    • pair with Bluetooth devices
    • access Bluetooth settings
    • full network access
    • view network connections
    • control vibration
    • prevent device from sleeping
    • run at startup
    • use accounts on the device
    • send sticky broadcast
    • delete all app cache data

Not to mention that “Updates to AALS2015 may automatically add additional capabilities within each group.”

I’m disappointed that the AALS hasn’t offered an app that is more sensitive to the privacy interests of attendees. What possible functionality does it offer that needs all this?

There is also an iPhone version – no idea if it’s better behaved.

Posted in Talks & Conferences | 3 Comments

See You at the AALS?

I’ll be chairing a panel on “Automated Decision-Making” at the AALS’s Jan 2015 conference. It’s co-sponsored by the Section on Internet and Computer Law and the Section on Defamation and Privacy.

Please come by and say hello, or send an email and maybe we can meet up some other time. One of the good things about the AALS is a chance to see old friends and it’s been a while since I went to one.

The panel, Saturday at 10:30am, should be well worth your time:

Proliferating sensors, affordable data storage, indiscriminate personal data collection, and increasingly robust predictive algorithms individually raise issues related to privacy, security, and due process. Combined, however, these technological advances have created a nearly insatiable appetite for data in order to improve organizational decision-making. The domains across which this voracity reaches include consumer lending, insurance, advertising, legal compliance, national security, and employment.

Automated decision-making promises accuracy and efficiency, but it is also rife with peril. Humans irrationally trust decisions made by computers, even though bias is easily hard-wired into computer systems. The use of personal data to make extremely nuanced and particularized decisions raises a number of privacy concerns. Incorrect inputs risk correspondingly erroneous outputs. Automated decision-making could also have a disparate impact on vulnerable populations that are susceptible to certain kinds of influence or that find it hard to fight back. Compounding this problem is the almost complete lack of meaningful transparency for those subjected to automated decisions.

Policy makers are struggling to respond to the challenges posed by automated decision-making. This panel will explore those challenges and will attempt to identify similarities and differences among the varied domains in which automated decision-making operates.


A. Michael Froomkin, University of Miami School of Law


  • Meg Leta Ambrose, Georgetown University School of Communication, Culture & Technology
  • Frank Pasquale, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
  • Dennis D. Hirsch, Capital University Law School
  • Michael Rich, Elon University School of Law

DATE: Saturday, 1/3/2015

TIME: 10:30 am-12:15 pm

ROOM: Thurgood Marshall West, Mezzanine Level, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

Posted in Talks & Conferences | Leave a comment

Heidelberg Talk Video Posted


From Anonymity to Identification: Online Communication in a Time of Surveillance | Prof. Michael Froomkin (Audio: MP3) (Video: MP4 / OGV)

I can’t thank my hosts in Heidelberg enough for the warmth of their welcome and their kindness while we visited.

Posted in Talks & Conferences | Leave a comment

Off to Heidelberg

Thursday I’ll be discussing From Anonymity to Identification: Online Communication in a Time of Surveillance.  My hosts are the Netzpolitik AG of the University of Heidelberg, which translates, I think, as the Network Working Group and is an interdisciplinary network of young researchers at the University of Heidelberg.

My thoughts on the topic of online anonymity are considerably grimmer than they were even two years ago.

Posted in Talks & Conferences | 2 Comments

Jotwell Conference Friday & Saturday

Great lineup!

JOTWELL 5TH anniversary Conference

Legal Scholarship We Like and Why It Matters

University of Miami School of Law
Nov 7-8, 2014

Friday Nov 7

1pm Welcome
Vice-Dean Patrick Gudridge, Welcome
A. Michael Froomkin, A Little About Jotwell

1:15 – 2:00
Steven L. Winter, When Things Went Terribly, Terribly Wrong Part II

2:15- 3:00
Patrick Gudridge, Past Present (Revised Version)

3:15 – 4:30 Counterpoint
Jeanne Schroeder and David Carlson, Improving Oneself and Ones Clients; Not the World
Neil Buchanan, Legal Scholarship Makes the World a Better Place

4:45 – 5:30 Keynote Address
Margaret Jane Radin, Then and Now: Developing Your Scholarship, Developing Its Audience

5:30- 6:30
Reception, Faculty Lounge

7:00 ->
Conference Dinner

Sat Nov 8


9:30 – 10:45 Counterpoint:
James Chen, Modeling Law Review Impact Factors as an Exponential Distribution
Patrick Woods, Stop Counting (Or At Least Count Better)

11- 11:45
Benjamin Keele, Improving Digital Publishing of Legal Scholarship

Mark Tushnet, The Federal Courts Junior Scholars Workshop (originally submitted as a contribution to Jotwell).


2:15- 3:00
Frank Pasquale, Symbiotic Law & Social Science: The Case for Political Economy in the Legal Academy, and Legal Scholarship in Political Economy

3:15 – 4:00
James Grimmelmann, Scholars, Teachers, and Servants


Accepted papers from scholars unable to attend:

Angela Mae Kupenda, Personal Essay–On the Receiving End of Influence: Helping Craft the Scholarship of My Students and How Their Work Influences Me

Posted in Jotwell, Talks & Conferences | 1 Comment

We Robot 2015 Call for Papers

We invite submissions for the fourth annual robotics law and policy conference—We Robot 2015—to be held in Seattle, Washington on April 10-11, 2015 at the University of Washington School of Law. We Robot has been hosted twice at the University of Miami School of Law and once at Stanford Law School. The conference web site is at

cropped-werobot-webheaderWe Robot 2015 seeks contributions by academics, practitioners, and others in the form of scholarly papers or demonstrations of technology or other projects. We Robot fosters conversations between the people designing, building, and deploying robots, and the people who design or influence the legal and social structures in which robots will operate. We particularly encourage contributions resulting from interdisciplinary collaborations, such as those between legal, ethical, or policy scholars and roboticists.

This conference will build on existing scholarship that explores how the increasing sophistication and autonomous decision-making capabilities of robots and their widespread deployment everywhere from the home, to hospitals, to public spaces, to the battlefield disrupts existing legal regimes or requires rethinking of various policy issues. We are particularly interested this year in “solutions,” i.e., projects with a normative or practical thesis aimed at helping to resolve issues around contemporary and anticipated robotic applications.

Scholarly Papers

Topics of interest for the scholarly paper portion of the conference include but are not limited to:

  • The impact of artificial intelligence on civil liberties, including sexuality, equal protection, privacy, suffrage, and procreation.
  • Comparative perspectives on the regulation of robotic technologies.
  • Assessment of what institutional configurations, if any, would best serve to integrate robotics into society responsibly.
  • Deployment of autonomous weapons in the military or law enforcement contexts.
  • Law and economic perspectives on robotics.

These are only some examples of relevant topics. We are very interested in papers on other topics driven by actual or probable robot deployments. The purpose of this conference is to help set a research agenda relating to the deployment of robots in society, to inform policy-makers of the issues, and to help design legal rules that will maximize opportunities and minimize risks arising from the increased deployment of robots in society.


We also invite expressions of interest from potential discussants. Every paper accepted will be assigned a discussant whose job it will be to present and comment on the paper. These presentations will be very brief (no more than 10 minutes) and will consist mostly of making a few points critiquing the author’s paper to kick off the conversation. Authors will then respond briefly (no more than 5 minutes). The rest of the session will consist of a group discussion about the paper moderated by the discussant.


Unlike the scholarly papers, proposals for demonstrations may be purely descriptive and designer/builders will be asked to present their work themselves. We’d like to hear about your latest innovations—and what’s on the drawing board for the next generations of robots as well, or about legal and policy issues you have encountered in the design or deploy process.

How to Submit Your Proposal

Please send a 1-3 page abstract outlining your proposed paper, and a c.v. of the author(s) to

  • Paper proposals accepted starting Oct. 1, 2014. See for further information.
  • Call for papers closes Nov 3, 2014.
  • Responses by Dec. 14, 2014.
  • Full papers due by March 23, 2015. They will be posted on line at the conference web site unless otherwise agreed by participants.

We anticipate paying reasonable round-trip domestic coach airfare and providing hotel accommodation for presenters and discussants.

Posted in Robots, Talks & Conferences | 1 Comment

I’m an All-Star!

Some time ago I agreed to give a talk on privacy issues 1pm this afternoon at UM’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

I’ve only just discovered, however, that the lecture series I’m a part of is the UM All-Stars. And they mean it: the wrap-up speaker on Oct. 13th is no less than UM’s Head Basketball Coach.

Posted in Talks & Conferences | Leave a comment