Monday, October 14, 2019
Because you never know who might become an enemy? (Or when you might need to leave evidence of some crime on someone’s phone.)
Chinese communist party’s app is reportedly spying on its 100M users
A report from the German cybersecurity firm Cure53 suggests the Chinese communist party’s app, Study the Great Nation, has ‘superuser’ access to over 100 million Android devices. It notes the app has a backdoor through which the government can access messages, photos, contacts, and internet browsing history of these handsets.
Curious. Who will become “choosers of the slain?”
New San Francisco Office Could Curb 'Reckless' Rollouts of Emerging Tech
San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee unveiled this week a proposal to create an Office of Emerging Technology to help the city get ahead of the next wave of new devices and services taking off in the high-tech sphere.
The office would be one of the first of its kind in the country, said Yee, and it would help startups navigate city bureaucracy to obtain permits to operate on the city's streets, sidewalks and other infrastructure.
… But the office will do more than just help eager tech firms obtain approvals and permits. It will also have the power to weigh the potential impact of a proposed technology on city infrastructure and public safety — as well as privacy and security — before giving a green light to a pilot project or product launch.
… Last April, San Francisco officials were forced to play regulatory catch-up and send cease-and-desist letters to startups Lime, Bird and Spin after the companies suddenly flooded the streets with thousands of electric scooters, blocking sidewalks and sparking angry complaints from residents. Yee thinks the new office could curb future bumpy rollouts and anti-tech backlashes.
“Now that we had a moment to think...”
New Draft ePrivacy Regulation Released
The Council of EU Member States – one of the two main EU lawmaking bodies – recently released a new of the ePrivacy Regulation (“EPR”). Negotiations on the regulation have been deadlocked for a while, but seem to be gathering new momentum under the Finnish Presidency. Below we highlight some selected topics that may be of interest to readers.
International cyber law is a subject close to home for the Netherlands, which in April 2018 was the site of a Russian military intelligence (GRU) cyber operation targeting the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The country clearly understands that clarity in international law can serve deterrent purposes, lessen the likelihood of unintended escalation in cyberspace, and enable certain robust responses to hostile cyber operations (see here and here ). Accordingly, the country is very active in the ongoing work in the UN of the Group of Governmental Experts on Advancing Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace (GGE) and in the UN Open Ended Working Group (OEWG). The Netherlands has also taken the lead in other norms-strengthening activities, including the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace, the EU Cyber Diplomacy Toolbox, and the Hague Process, by which that country engages in international law capacity-building around the world.
Sunday, October 13, 2019
A one hour discussion (watch the video)
Microsoft’s President on Privacy, Artificial Intelligence, and Human Rights
Before a rapt, standing-room-only audience of more than 300 students, faculty, and other members of the Law School community, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith ’84 returned to campus on October 1 to discuss his new book, Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age (cowritten with Carol Ann Browne).
The event with Gillian Lester, Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law of Columbia Law School, and Professor Tim Wu, a leading authority on antitrust law who advocates for breaking up Big Tech companies, was the season’s first installment of the Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series.
… Does the tech sector need its own version of the Hippocratic oath? Smith thinks so. When Wu, the Julius Silver Professor of Law, Science and Technology, asked him about the idea, Smith pointed to his concerns about ethical questions raised by artificial intelligence. “I think we should consider [AI] to be the rapidly emerging dominant economic force of the next three decades,” he said. “Here we are fundamentally equipping machines with the power to make decisions that previously were only made by human beings. So you have to ask, ‘How do we want machines to make these decisions?’ And as soon as you ask that question, I think one of the things you realize is we probably want to make these decisions based on more than what people who study computer or data science learn in their disciplines.”
Sunday Reading: The Rise of Artificial Intelligence
We’re living through an extraordinary moment in technological history. In the past decade, the rise of artificial intelligence (both in theory and in practice) has revolutionized computer science and the workplace. As the field expands, many philosophers and academics are raising questions about what A.I. means for the future of human intelligence. This week, we’ve gathered a selection of pieces about the evolution of artificial intelligence and its impact on our lives.
Thinking about artificial intelligence can help clarify what makes us human—for better and for worse.
What happens when diagnosis is automated?
Will artificial intelligence bring us utopia or destruction?
And yet, this is a hot field for AI.
Potential Liability for Physicians Using Artificial Intelligence
Medical AI may be trained in inappropriate environments, using imperfect techniques, or on incomplete data. Even when algorithms are trained as well as possible, they may, for example, miss a tumor in a radiological image or suggest the incorrect dose for a drug or an inappropriate drug. Sometimes, patients will be injured as a result. In this Viewpoint, we discuss when a physician could likely be held liable under current law when using medical AI.
Saturday, October 12, 2019
California blocks police from using facial recognition in body cameras
Civil liberties advocates are declaring victory after California became the latest state to block police from using facial recognition technology in body cameras.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed on Tuesday, prohibiting police departments from outfitting body cameras with technology to identify people through their facial features or other biometric traits. The law takes effect Jan. 1 and expires in 2023, but can be renewed.
State lawmakers passed the bill after Amazon’s Rekognition facial recognition software including the assemblyman who carried the measure, San Francisco Democrat Phil Ting.
… No police agencies in the state use the technology now, according to the California Peace Officers’ Association.
… Oregon and New Hampshire have similar bans, and cities including San Francisco and Oakland have adopted more sweeping laws.
Nothing illegal about asking? I wonder how many schools gave ICE this information. Would they keep doing it if it didn’t work?
Kaylin Jorge reports:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents (ICE) showed up at a Nashville elementary school in September seeking student records, FOX 17 News has confirmed.
Metro Schools said ICE agents went to Una Elementary School and tried to get information about students from school officials. ICE agents were not given any records, MNPS said.
Read more on
Always behind the technology. Is that ethical?
Why it’s time to start talking about blockchain ethics
Blockchain technology is changing the nature of money and organizations. We should probably start pondering the potential consequences.
If blockchain technology can be reasonably expected to make a significant difference in society, then it deserves its own field of ethics, just like biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and nuclear technology, argues Rhys Lindmark, head of community and long-term societal impact at MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative.
… Lindmark said that like other “tech ethics” fields, the field of blockchain ethics should examine what the technology is capable of doing, and ponder the potential consequences. For instance, blockchains make it possible to create leaderless, “decentralized” organizations. Does that mean no one is responsible if something goes wrong? In public blockchains like Bitcoin, the network’s shared software rules are supposed to automatically sort out what behavior is allowed. So if a user exploits the protocol for profit without breaking its rules, is that unethical? Meanwhile, global digital currencies like what Facebook is proposing might change the nature of money. How might that change politics and power dynamics?
Friday, October 11, 2019
So far, nothing looks like AI. (Dem AIs is clever!)
New Hacking Techniques Discovered In 2019 So Far
Hey! It’s not funny! (Okay, maybe a little)
Dutch Prostitution Site Hookers.nl Hacked—250,000 Users’ Data Leaked
Hackers have obtained the data and personal details of around 250,000 users of the Dutch sex-work forum Hookers.nl.
… “Offering this information for sale is punishable by law, and if possible we will take legal action,” the moderator added. “In addition, a report has been made to the Dutch data protection authority.”
The site is reportedly used by both sex workers and their customers. Though prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, one serious concern around such leaks is that users real identities will be exposed and they will face blackmail, personal or professional consequences. That’s what happened in the bigger breach of adultery hook-up site Ashley Madison, which resulted in many a personal catastrophe.
Escort forums in Italy and the Netherlands hacked, user data put up for sale
A third forum for zoophilia and bestiality fans was also hacked. User data put up for sale as well.
Now will you start thinking about CCPA?
California AG Releases Draft CCPA Regulations
On October 10th, California state attorney general Xavier Becerra announced the release of concerning the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
(Related) Nothing is ever so bad it can’t get worse!
New Ballot Initiative Seeks to Redo the CCPA
The author of the ballot initiative intends to include this proposal on the November, 2020 ballot.
They’re all potential mass murderers!
Florida is scooping up huge amounts of data on schoolchildren, including security camera footage and discipline records, and researchers are worried
Kate Fazzini reports:
Researchers from the Aspen Institute are raising concerns about a Florida initiative meant to collect and collate huge amounts of data on schoolchildren in the state, according to
Florida schools are now required on students in the name of predicting school shootings. The Florida Schools Safety Portal, or FSSP, executive order was issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year in response to the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Read more on
Turning IT Upside Down In a Machine Learning World
… The process of IT systems development will be reversed or turned upside down with machine learning. Those looking to win in the age of machine learning will place data and analytics as the centerpiece of their strategy for systems development. Data should no longer be viewed as a necessary evil required to complete a process step, rather it should be the foundation that informs the possibilities of the future. IT investments will start with identifying the question we want to answer, inventorying the data we possess, identifying the data architecture gaps and then, as the last step, we will build systems to support those objectives. Consider the comparison of how these two paradigms contrast relative to traditional software development phases.
At every step in the software lifecycle you can see how mindsets need to shift. Rather than optimizing for ‘how can I make your current pain points better,’ it is about determining the questions, that if answered, would yield groundbreaking results. Every organization has one or two key metrics, that if changed, could dramatically improve company performance. These metrics could be customer retention, lead acquisition, win rate or any of a large number of potential metrics/questions that if impacted by data, insights, and action could produce order of magnitude results in terms of revenue, margins, and valuation. As an example, in environments where market share matters, high volume interactions occur with low costs of sale and the difference of moving from a four percent lead conversion rate to an eight percent conversion rate can be the difference between average results and best in class results.
Two views of amazing…
Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan
… Today, Bezos controls nearly 40 percent of all e-commerce in the United States. More product searches are conducted on Amazon than on Google, which has allowed Bezos to build an advertising business as valuable as the entirety of IBM. One estimate has Amazon Web Services controlling almost half of the cloud-computing industry—institutions as varied as General Electric, Unilever, and even the CIA rely on its servers. Forty-two percent of paper book sales and a third of the market for streaming video are controlled by the company; Twitch, its video platform popular among gamers, attracts 15 million users a day.
Is Amazon Unstoppable?
Politicians want to rein in the retail giant. But Jeff Bezos, the master of cutthroat capitalism, is ready to fight back.
… Critics say that Amazon, much like Google and Facebook, has grown too large and powerful to be trusted. Everyone from Senator Elizabeth Warren to President Donald Trump has depicted Amazon as dangerously unconstrained. This past summer, at a debate among the Democratic Presidential candidates, Senator Bernie Sanders said, “Five hundred thousand Americans are sleeping out on the street, and yet companies like Amazon, that made billions in profits, did not pay one nickel in federal income tax.” And Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, declared that Amazon has “destroyed the retail industry across the United States.” The Federal Trade Commission and the European Union, meanwhile, are independently pursuing investigations of Amazon for potential antitrust violations. In recent months, inquiries by news organizations have documented Amazon’s sale of illegal or deadly products, and have exposed how the company’s fast-delivery policies have resulted in drivers speeding down streets and through intersections, killing people.
I’m not sure we need a supplement to the First Amendment, but perhaps banning legislatures from banning companies from banning certain things should be banned?
Michigan bill aims to restrict what internet companies could ban from their sites
Two Michigan lawmakers are hoping to put new restrictions on what social media and other technology companies like Facebook, YouTube or Google could ban from their sites.
… It’s unclear how the legislation would be enforced or regulated if signed into law, and the bill hasn’t advanced past the committee level.
Geek out, Bob.
Breaking Down The 10 Need-To-Know Emerging Technologies
emerging tech spotlights have previously identified and characterized the various emerging technologies that are worth your time. In order to help you figure out how to best consume them, Will McKeon-White and I did our best to help simplify this shifting landscape in our latest report, written as a downloadable PowerPoint file: “Use The Cloud Platforms To Drive Your Tech-Driven Innovations.”
From this research, we came across three key takeaways:
- Don’t assume your business can’t be enhanced by the technologies covered.
- Open source is accelerating, but some technologies are far more proprietary than others.
- Breadth and strength of services is defining the next wave of cloud competition, and vendors know it
cloud empowerment webinar and video blog so far, to provide more context on what the PowerPoint contains, we provide a breakdown of the various solutions/services offered by the major cloud providers (Alibaba, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, IBM, Microsoft Azure, Oracle, and Salesforce) for the following 10 technologies:
- Computer vision
- Deep learning
- Natural language generation
- Distributed ledger technology
- Edge computing
- Augmented, virtual, and mixed reality technologies
- Additive manufacturing
- Digital twins
- Serverless computing
- Quantum computing
Wally asks another good question.
Thursday, October 10, 2019
I’m 100% concerned.
In-House Counsel Are Both Unconcerned About New Privacy Laws And Completely Unprepared For New Privacy Laws
Joe Patrice writes:
At least clients are putting up a brave front.
When asked about new regulations like the California Consumer Privacy Act, 68 percent of in-house legal department respondents are either “not concerned” or only “somewhat concerned.” That’s a good indication that corporate counsel have a great plan for this stuff, right? Well, in the same survey, when asked “do you feel concerned about your organization’s ability to meet all aspects of the new privacy requirements?” 69 percent were “concerned” or “very concerned” with an additional 25 percent “somewhat concerned.” And 84 percent “have no clearly defined processes to meet new and emerging privacy regulations.”
Read more on
You know “they” (not just Amazon) listen to anything their devices hear, why not watch anything they see?
Amazon Workers May Be Watching Your Cloud Cam Home Footage
Teams in India and Romania use video snippets sent by customers for troubleshooting purposes and to train artificial intelligence algorithms.
“We’re here to help?”
DHS cyber unit wants to subpoena ISPs to identify vulnerable systems
… CISA, which warns both government and private-sector businesses of security vulnerabilities, privately complained of being unable to warn businesses about security threats because it can’t always identify who owns a vulnerable system.
The new proposal would allow CISA to use its new powers to directly warn businesses of threats to critical devices, such as industrial control systems — typically used in critical infrastructure.
Where Alexa goes, others will follow.
Amazon’s New Smart Products Raise All Kinds of Alexa Privacy Concerns
While Amazon’s introduction of so many new Alexa-enabled products at its Seattle headquarters caught some privacy advocates off-guard, this strategy of building out the Alexa family of products has been brewing for some time at Amazon. CEO Jeff Bezos has made no secret of the fact that he’d like to see the Alexa smart assistant technology become “ubiquitous” and “ambient,” much like Google Assistant.
… What raises so many Alexa privacy concerns, however, is the fact that many of the new devices are blurring the line between wearable devices and surveillance gear. And these wearable devices come with microphones (in order to hear the questions asked by users), meaning that they might be used inadvertently to eavesdrop and record conversations in public, or used to invade other people’s privacy in strange new ways. Would you really want to sit down next to someone who might be recording every word you say?
… Amazon has rolled out a particularly cheerful sounding Alexa-powered night light for kids called Glow. As one tech blog exclaimed after reading about this product, “Surveillance for all ages!”
… And, in all credit to Amazon, it has tried to add some “privacy inventions” to its products. For example, there’s a new voice command that lets you ask Alexa what it has recorded about you. And there’s another feature that enables automatic deletion of all recorded content on a rolling basis.
But is this really enough in a post-GDPR world? The whole point of privacy regulation is for tech firms to obtain consent from users before their personal data is used, and to give them the option to delete all personal data upon request. In contrast, all of the new Alexa privacy features are opt-in rather than opt-out, meaning that Amazon really doesn’t want you opting out of data collection. And, since AI-powered technology needs data in order to “learn,” Amazon doesn’t let you delete conversations immediately – only after Alexa has had a chance to learn from them.
Less like a legal pendulum, more like a yo-yo.
“Similar” Illegal Comments Must Be Taken Down
On Thursday 3rd October, Europe’s highest court ordered Facebook to take down content that was sufficiently similar to comments that had been ruled defamatory.
Specifically, the European Court of Justice ruled that “EU law does not preclude a host provider such as Facebook from being ordered to remove identical and, in certain circumstances, equivalent comments previously declared to be illegal.”
Furthermore judges said: “EU law does not preclude such an injunction from producing effects worldwide, within the framework of the relevant international law.” This would appear to be at odds with its ruling last week that the so-called “Right to be Forgotten” – whereby search engines must delist outdated or irrelevant information from searches for individual names – does NOT extend to international territorial scope.
The Modern Contract Handbook – A Downloadable Guide
“Any reader of Artificial Lawyer would recognize that Every stage of the contract lifecycle – from creation, through collaboration, negotiation, agreement, tracking and renewal – can create friction. It’s well known now that according to the IACCM, 83% of people are dissatisfied with the contract process. Solving this is why Juro exists, but in working to fix it, we’ve been fortunate enough to learn an enormous amount about how to actually make contracts work for everyone. That’s why we decided to wrap it all together and share it with the community – download your copy of the ”
Perspective gained by discussions with those who are doing AI. (See the graphic)
Top Trends on the Gartner Hype Cycle for Artificial Intelligence, 2019
Between 2018 and 2019, organizations that have deployed (AI) grew from 4% to 14%, according to
… Conversational AI remains at the top of corporate agendas spurred by the worldwide success of Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and others. Meanwhile, new technologies continue to emerge such as augmented intelligence, edge AI, data labeling and explainable AI.
Machines can be people too.
India: Copyright And Artificial Intelligence
… Who owns copyright in work created using Artificial Intelligence?
The challenging part is where we have to decide who owns the copyright in a situation where a creative and artistic work is generated by an automated machine, or any form of artificial intelligence, and such creation takes place independently without any kind of human effort.
Certain kinds of Copyright ownership are discussed as follows:
a) The Programmer
b) The user
c) The Artificial Intelligence
Lawyer like a hacker...
Shedding Some Light on the Dark Web for Legal Researchers
– “…What makes the Dark Web “dark,” are not the nefarious things that sometimes occur there; rather, it is the anonymity it offers.
… Undetectable Web activity is obviously valuable to a criminal, but it is equally valuable for many “normal” users… All of this secrecy makes the Dark Web a handy tool for legal researchers. Anonymous browsing is terrific for such everyday research tasks as conducting competitive intelligence gathering, tracking down infringement of copyright or trademarks without tipping off the target, or locating sensitive subjects without revealing your identity. Anonymity also is very helpful for gathering information on individuals or looking around for clues to identity theft. Putting on a disguise before searching the Web is just another way legal researchers can locate useful information effectively yet secretly. The question is: How do you travel these virtual back alleys safely and legally?…”
Perspective. A quiz for when my students get cocky. (Questions and answers are in the PDF)
Americans and Digital Knowledge
“A majority of U.S. adults can answer fewer than half the questions correctly on a digital knowledge quiz, and many struggle with certain cybersecurity and privacy questions. A finds that Americans’ understanding of technology-related issues varies greatly depending on the topic, term or concept.
… This survey consisted of 10 questions designed to test Americans’ knowledge of a range of digital topics, such as cybersecurity or the business side of social media companies. The median number of correct answers was four. Only 20% of adults answered seven or more questions correctly, and just 2% got all 10 questions correct…”
Is this also true for senior business managers?
Social Media: Senior Leaders Need to Get on the Bus
… If you are a senior leader in the military, being engaged on social media is becoming more of an imperative by the day. There are many reasons why this is essential, but here are my top 10:
3) It is important for us to acknowledge that the higher you go, the more insulated and distant you are from where the rubber meets the road. Social media gives us the opportunity to hear directly from our service members about what is bothering them, or the challenges facing them and their families. It is not always glamorous – not unlike reading the inside of a porta-potty at NTC – but the majority of the time, you will get unfiltered, grassroots feedback, and that is something we can all benefit from.
A tool for yelling at my students? The Magic version may cause seizures.
To create a big message on someone’s screen, head to BigAssMessage.com. Here you’ll find a simple interface that allows you to enter a message and pick from one of four styles. From there, you can preview the message and save it.
… To see how your message will work, just enter it and pick a style, then click Preview. When satisfied, click again to return to the main screen. Once you click Save, a URL will appear in the bottom bar. Click this to copy it, then you can send it to people or display it on your own computer.
A plan we would all invest in?