In a recent speech at the European Parliament, Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook generated headlines for sounding an alarm about what he called a burgeoning “data industrial complex.” Cook warned that “our own information, from the everyday to the deeply personal, is being weaponized against us with military efficiency.” As businesses and governments deploy algorithms and artificial intelligence to exploit massive data troves, he said, the dangers of misuse of the information are “profound.”

NYU Law boasts a range of initiatives at intersection of law and technology, such as the Innovation Policy Colloquium, the Technology Law and Policy Clinic, and the Center for Cybersecurity. In November, three conferences at the Law School will delve into the increasingly urgent legal and policy questions raised by the world of Big Data—including many of the concerns Cook highlighted in his remarks.

The Scales of Justice with binary code running through them“The digitalization of society, economy, and politics is happening so rapidly that it calls for law to intervene in far-sighted ways to help shape this trajectory,” says Benedict Kingsbury, vice dean and faculty director of the Guarini Institute for Global Legal Studies and the Institute for International Law and Justice.  “These three conferences showcase a major collective initiative in NYU’s booming law and tech community to think forward about these profound fundamentals: the uses and regulation of artificial intelligence, the renovation of intellectual property law and privacy law for these new conditions, and the creation of a new field of global data law."

In his speech, Cook said: "Now, more than ever—as leaders of governments, as decision-makers in business, and as citizens—we must ask ourselves a fundamental question: What kind of world do we want to live in?” The November discussions at the Law School are part of an ongoing inquiry to help answer that.

Information on the three programs follows (click on the title links for additional details).

November 9, 2018

Data Law in a Global Digital Economy
Sponsored by the Guarini Institute for Global Legal Studies and Institute for International Law and Justice in cooperation with NYU Law Review, this symposium will examine how law does, should, or can affect data ownership, concentration, and control in a global digital economy. It seeks to reconstruct the law of data through foundational legal concepts such as contract, torts, property, trusts/fiduciary law, antitrust, and tax.  While drawing on established approaches in intellectual property law and information privacy law, the symposium focuses mainly on current legal practices and future directions in data contracting and liability, data trusts, data portability and agglomeration, changes in the nature of property rights that data and digital economy are precipitating, and the export of competing models of data law. The program is part of a project to re-conceptualize data law and regulation in the global digital economy.

November 16-17

Trade Secrets and Algorithmic Systems
This symposium, sponsored by the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy and the Information Law Institute, will explore the increasingly important issues raised by trade secrecy protection of data-driven decision-making algorithms. Its distinctive contribution will be to bring innovation policy and intellectual property law expertise to the emerging debate about these tools. Participants will examine the extent to which trade secrecy promotes socially desirable innovation in decision-making algorithms and consider possible alternatives; consider how trade secrecy affects competition among developers of decision-making algorithms; discuss trade secrecy’s implications for the validation, error correction and updating of these tools; and analyze the intersection between these innovation policy issues and concerns about accountability, transparency, privacy and fairness.

November 30-December 1

Artificial Intelligence in a Democratic Society under the Rule of Law
Every day the news is filled with stories about the miracle—or is it the looming threat?—of artificial intelligence (AI), which is either far in the future, just about to happen, or already here. But what exactly is AI and how does it affect the world of lawyers, judges and other policy-makers? What are its legal and ethical implications?  What are its benefits and risks? And how should the law and public policy adapt to this new technology? This conference, hosted by the Center on Civil Justice in cooperation with e-discovery company H5, will bring together legislators, judges, lawyers, journalists, academics, and experts in the technical and business aspects of AI and legal technology.  The goal will be to share perspectives, educate each other, and talk about how existing legal and ethical concepts are prepared to meet the challenge of the AI revolution.

Posted October 31, 2018