April 18 - Institute Releases Report on Building Inclusive Ecosystems for Women Entrepreneurs as Part of BEACON: DC Women Founders' Initiative

The Institute today is publishing a report and recommendations on ways to strengthen Washington, D.C.’s ecosystem for women entrepreneurs. The report will be unveiled during a lunch event at Google’s D.C. offices, attended by an expected crowd of 100 women entrepreneurs and ecosystem leaders.

The report, “Building Inclusive Ecosystems with Intentionality: A Strategy to Enhance Support for D.C.’s Women Founders” was authored by the Institute's Fellow Deloris Wilson J.D./M.P.A., as part of the Institute's work providing strategic and operational support for BEACON: The D.C. Women Founders Initiative, a community-led initiative to make Washington D.C. a leading destination for diverse women entrepreneurs. 

The report recognizes Washington D.C.'s strength in entrepreneurship, including its growing number of women-owned businesses at a time when national levels are on the decline. However, it also identifies key areas where the ecosystem to support for diverse women entrepreneurs could be strengthened and improved. The report provides recommendations in four core areas:

  • Increasing access to capital by acting with intention when targeting, engaging with anf funding women and minority-owned companies;
  • Improving the organization and quality of resource delivery within D.C.’s entrepreneurial ecosystem;
  • Creating new business opportunities by alleviating administrative burdens, promoting consumer-centric models, and mobilizing community partners for marketing and contracting opportunities; and
  • Inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs by integrating youth outreach into existing initiatives and expanding curricular offerings within school-based programs.

The full report is available at www.bit.ly/inclusiveecosystems.

Launch of BEACON 2018 Community Campaigns

During Wednesday’s event, BEACON also unveiled four community campaigns it will lead in 2018 centered on recommendations derived from the report. These “community campaigns” will see members of the BEACON community--entrepreneurs, resource providers, and local business owners--working together on events and activations to create new opportunities in the District. For example, one such campaign will focus on mobilizing a “BEACON Next Generation Network” of local businesses that commit to supporting youth entrepreneurship initiatives across all eight wards. The campaigns will be managed by the Tech Institute, with support from Deloris and a team of Georgetown student RAs.

About BEACON

BEACON: The D.C. Women Founders’ Initiative is a community-led campaign to make Washington, D.C. the most influential and supportive city for women entrepreneurs in the United States. As a collaborative effort led by local entrepreneurs, service providers, policy experts and community leaders, BEACON aims to recognize and address gaps in services to better support women entrepreneurs.

BEACON is led by a Board of 11 volunteer leaders from D.C.’s entrepreneurship and policy ecosystem and receives strategic and operational support from Georgetown Law’s Institute for Technology Law & Policy and Google.  Among other projects, BEACON runs an annual grant program for innovative projects to support D.C.’s women entrepreneurs, and operates the District’s largest directory of women-owned businesses and resources for women entrepreneurs.  BEACON leads campaigns to address issues affecting women entrepreneurs, identifies speaking and vending opportunities for women business owners, and produces a biweekly newsletter showcasing resources and opportunities that reaches over 2000 subscribers.

You can read more about BEACON’s activities here.

For more information about Wednesday’s event, contact thebeacondc@gmail.com or TechInstitute@law.georgetown.edu.

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April 6, 2018 - Georgetown’s David Vladeck Outlines Challenges & Opportunities for Incoming FTC Commissioners

by Aaron Fluitt, Fellow

Georgetown’s David Vladeck spoke on Capitol Hill Friday as part of a panel on the challenges and opportunities facing the FTC in the areas of privacy and data security. Professor Vladeck was Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection from 2009 to 2012, where he supervised the Bureau’s work to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive and fraudulent practices, including actions involving Google and Facebook. The panel was convened by the Congressional Civil Justice Caucus Academy, an initiative of George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School.

Panelists lauded the FTC’s recent focus on identifying and characterizing the sorts of “informational injuries” consumers suffer when data about them is misused, and agreed that this will probably remain a central focus of the incoming team of FTC commissioners as well. While there have been several recent challenges to the FTC’s authority to protect consumers where specific harms have not yet come to fruition, as in the LabMD case before the 11th Circuit (which one panelist predicted the FTC is on track to lose), Professor Vladeck noted that the FTC Act directs the agency to prevent harm to consumers as well.

Panelists also highlighted the question of whether companies’ privacy claims should count as material representations for the purposes of the FTC’s authority to enforce the prohibition against deceptive practices. One panelist noted that privacy commitments may be distinguishable from advertising claims because the privacy representations are not usually presented to consumers in major ad campaigns, but rather users must seek out such claims in privacy policies and terms of service.

Panelists spent much of the time discussing the implications of the recent revelations about Facebook’s lack of oversight of its data sharing practices and Cambridge Analytica. Although one panelist pointed out that the FTC has never found that using data to target consumer advertising constitutes a harm, Professor Vladeck noted that using individual data to target individuals and push them to vote for a particular candidate is different from any case the FTC has previously seen. Moreover, Vladeck noted, if you look at the FTC’s original 2011 complaint against Facebook, the agency specifically highlighted how in 2009 Facebook’s forced sharing exposed users’ political views. From 2009 to 2018, the harm of sharing political data has come full-circle.

Among the many significant issues implicated in the recent Facebook scandal, Vladeck also discussed how the FTC will face a very difficult policy determination regarding what sort of “general deterrence” message the agency wants to send to other companies in assessing civil penalties for violations of the original consent decree.

Professor Vladeck also noted that the focus on bringing more technological expertise into the agency will probably accelerate. Even outside the privacy space, such as the unfair practices of lenders operating offshore, virtually all recent FTC actions have had a tech aspect. Vladeck predicted that this may finally lead to the creation of a long-contemplated Bureau of Technology in the future.

Professor Vladeck also spoke last week at an event on the Cambridge Analytica scandal hosted by the Open Technology Institute at New America. A video link of that event is available here.

  Georgetown Prof. David Vladeck briefs Hill staff on challenges & opportunities for the incoming Commissioners at the FTC

Georgetown Prof. David Vladeck briefs Hill staff on challenges & opportunities for the incoming Commissioners at the FTC

March 26, 2018 - Institute Publishes Report from Roundtable on the Ethical Reuse of Data in a Machine Learning World

Last fall, the Tech Institute and Georgetown Professor Paul Ohm gathered experts to discuss the ethical re-use of data for machine learning purposes. The workshop addressed a specific - and challenging - question: at a time when machine learning based on vast data sets holds great promise for informing social science analysis, furthering medical research, and other important applications for social good, how should such uses be squared with concerns about privacy and user consent?

The workshop brought together leading experts from academia, computer science, government agencies, public interest groups and private companies for a half-day discussion.

The workshop highlighted the ways in which big data and machine learning appear to be challenging traditional legal, ethical, and attitudinal approaches to limiting the reuse of data. Its primary question was when, if ever, it may be appropriate to share or reuse data that was initially gathered for a different purpose.

The workshop began with an overview of machine learning systems and the Fair Information Practices (FIPs), which for decades have formed the backbone of data privacy regulations around the world. Participants debated whether the FIPs remain a practicable framework for analyzing privacy in the context of big data and machine learning operations on certain data sets. The workshop then focused on distilling points of consensus and contention on the future of data privacy in an era of big data and machine learning.

Ultimately, the statements of participants in the workshop demonstrate that the questions raised by data reuse in a machine learning world are important to broad segments of society, but also difficult to resolve given current legal and institutional frameworks, making this area ripe for further analysis and research.

This roundtable is the first in a series of workshops the Institute, Georgetown Professor Paul Ohm and other faculty will be convening on questions of data governance.

A report summarizing the workshop is available here.

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March 22, 2018 - Institute Announces New Collaboration with Vint Cerf Focused on Digital Preservation

The Institute is pleased to announce a new summer fellowship for 2018 that will focus on digital preservation. The fellowship is open to Georgetown students pursuing a law or other graduate degree. 

The fellowship project will focus on policy questions surrounding digital preservation: the growing technical challenge our society faces as old digital formats become redundant because of the rapid pace of technology. If you ever saved files on a floppy disk, and have thought about trying to access to them now, you've encountered the problems inherent in digital preservation. As files and programs become outdated, our digital information risks becoming impossible to reach. This threat of a "digital dark age" affects personal information, corporate information, and government records alike.

The summer fellowship will allow a Georgetown Law student to work closely with internet founder Vint Cerf and the Institute's team on translating ideas about digital preservation into practicable policy solutions. A rising 2L or 3L student will work for 10 weeks to conduct research, meet with relevant experts and government staff, produce written materials, and perform other
tasks as needed.

We're excited to launch this collaboration and contribute to this tough policy challenge. Interested eligible students should check out the job posting at www.georgetowntech.org/jobs. 
 

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March 13, 2018 - Institute's BEACON Inclusive Innovation Program Featured at SXSW

The Institute's inclusive innovation program, BEACON: The DC Women Founders' Initiative was featured at SXSW this year as part of the We:DC House managed by the D.C. Mayor's Office and the Washington D.C. Economic Partnership.

BEACON co-hosted "Pop Up and Pitch", a pitch competition for entrepreneurs that remixed the traditional pitch model by allowing the audience to ask questions and contribute 50% of the vote. The competition, launched in partnership with Black Girl Ventures and Cee Smith Media, was specifically focused on minority women entrepreneurs. The event attracted a great crowd and was a core part of D.C.'s inclusive innovation programming at SXSW.

BEACON also participated at a tech and innovation roundtable hosted by D.C. Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner.

BEACON: The DC Women Founders’ Initiative is a community-led campaign incubated at the Tech Institute that focuses on making Washington, D.C. the most influential and supportive city for women entrepreneurs in the United States. As a collaborative effort led by local entrepreneurs, service providers, policy experts and community leaders, BEACON aims to recognize and address gaps in services to better support women entrepreneurs.

BEACON is led by a Board of 12 volunteer leaders from D.C.’s entrepreneurship and policy ecosystem and receives strategic and operational support from the Institute. The Institute and our full-time fellow, Deloris Wilson, provide ongoing support and conduct research to drive BEACON's policy work.

Among other projects, BEACON runs an annual grant program that funds innovative projects to support D.C.’s women entrepreneurs. It operates the District’s largest directory of women-owned businesses and resources for women founders. BEACON hosts or co-hosts regular programming, leads campaigns to address issues affecting women entrepreneurs, identifies speaking and vending opportunities for women business owners, and produces a biweekly newsletter showcasing resources and opportunities that reaches over 2000 subscribers.

We have presented research findings to organizations such as the National Women’s Business Council and the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. BEACON's first major report is scheduled for release in April 2018.

You can read more about BEACON's work in our 2017 Highlights Report, available here.

  D.C. Deputy Mayor (2d from right) hosting a roundtable on tech and inclusive innovation at this year's SXSW.

D.C. Deputy Mayor (2d from right) hosting a roundtable on tech and inclusive innovation at this year's SXSW.

March 12, 2018 - Privacy Center's Clare Garvie Speaks at SXSW on Facial Recognition Technology

The Georgetown Center on Privacy & Technology's Clare Garvie spoke at SXSW today on algorithmic bias and facial recognition technologies. The panel, "Facial Recognition: Please Search Responsibly" highlighted the Center's groundbreaking work on the widespread use of facial recognition technology--and the inherent problems it can present.

Speaking alongside Brian Brackeen, CEO and founder of Miami-based face recognition firm Kairos, and Arun Ross, professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University, Garvie emphasized challenging questions about privacy, use vs. misuse, and the responsibilities of algorithm developers and companies to ensure privacy and civil liberties protections are built into their products

Brackeen discussed his company's efforts to address racial bias in facial recognition technology by building a more inclusive data set to train such programs. Garvie welcomed that approach, noting the importance of inclusive data to produce more refined and accurate results. The Privacy Center's 2016 report, "The Perpetual Line Up: Unregulated Police Face Recognition in America", revealed the widespread use of facial recognition technology by federal and state law enforcement, and highlighted that such technology may be less accurate on persons of color. The report noted the lack of any independent testing regime for racially-based error rates.

The Center's 2016 report was followed by a 2017 report on the use of face recognition technologies in U.S. airports, "Not Ready for Takeoff: Face Scans at Airport Departure Gates".

You can read more of the Privacy Center's outstanding work on facial recognition technology here, and follow their work in this space on Twitter at www.twitter.com/georgetownCPT

  Georgetown Privacy Center's Clare Garvie speaks at SXSW on facial recognition technology (photo courtesy Dana Sanchez/Moguldom.com)

Georgetown Privacy Center's Clare Garvie speaks at SXSW on facial recognition technology (photo courtesy Dana Sanchez/Moguldom.com)

February 23, 2018 - Institute Hosts Symposium on The Governance & Regulation of Information Platforms

We've wrapped our 2018 Symposium on The Governance & Regulation of Information Platforms! Video of the event will be posted on the event site by next Wednesday, February 28th.

You can read some conversation from the day on Twitter at #PlatformLaw. Articles will be published in the May edition of the Georgetown Law Technology Review.

View the event site here.

The symposium, cohosted with the Georgetown Law Technology Review, brought together leading academics and policy experts.  Panels explored:

  1. the roles platforms play as both subjects and sources of governance
  2. the roles platforms play—or might play—in structuring access to information and market
  3. the role platforms play—or might play—in amplifying or mitigating false information, harassment, and political and social polarization, and how they may mitigate those problems, and
  4. questions of algorithmic accountability.

The symposium featured Georgetown Law's Julie Cohen, Paul Ohm, Alexandra Givens alongside FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny, the Tech Institute's Distinguished Fellow Gigi Sohn, and a diverse range of thought leaders in the field.

Full details (and as of next Wednesday, video) are available at www.georgetowntech.org/platforms

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February 19, 2018 - Institute Publishes Report from Its Legislative Workshop on the Governance of AI

Last month, the Institute convened one of our legislative workshops, bringing together Congressional staff and policy experts to analyze and refine a proposed legislative idea. The workshop focused on the governance of artificial intelligence (AI) -- in particular, how to strengthen the federal government's competence and consistency in addressing the many questions raised by AI.

Participants included individuals with expertise in the policy challenges and opportunities raised by AI; individuals who have managed federal government teams focused on technology; and individuals from private sector companies that interface with regulators and other government agencies on AI-related matters. 

Together, they debated:

(1)  challenges an AI-focused federal office or entity could potentially address;

(2)  whether a new federal office or entity is necessary to address those challenges, and if so, the appropriate structure of such an entity; and

(3)  other relevant considerations in determining appropriate federal structures for grappling with the questions raised by AI.

These workshops are one of our favorite ways to bring together diverse groups on pressing policy issues. A write-up of the report is now available here. Please read and share your thoughts!

Read the full report from the Georgetown Legislative Workshop on Strengthening AI Coordination and Competency Within the Federal Government here.

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February 13, 2018 - Georgetown Law Honored as Tech Organization of the Year at DC Legal Hackers’ Le Hackie Awards

Georgetown Law was recognized as the 2017 Organization of the Year by DC Legal Hackers’ at their annual Le Hackies Awards this week, for the school's combined work in promoting technology in law school, policy, and legal scholarship.

Professor Paul Ohm, who teaches classes on technology and privacy, as well as our popular course "Computer Programming for Lawyers", accepted the award.

Georgetown Law had a great showing in several other categories as well. Our adjuncts, Tech Institute Fellows,  current students and alumni had a hand in several of the “Top Ten Legal Hacks of the Year.”

Tech Institute Fellow Jaime Petenko partnered with Adjunct Professor Alan DeLevie, Rebecca Williams, Wendy Knox Everette and the ACLU to organize last summer’s Digital Security Training for Advocates, hosted by the Tech Institute at Georgetown Law.

Current Georgetown Law student Ethan Plail was recognized alongside Professor Paul Ohm for his help leading Paul’s trailblazing course on “Computer Programming for Lawyers."

Georgetown Law Alum (’11) and USA Today Investigative Reporter Brad Heath won the night’s “Best Hack” award for his revolutionary provision of unprecedented public access to, and real-time updates on, federal court filings in major federal cases—including the Mueller prosecutions and challenges to President Trump’s executive orders—through his “Big Cases Bot” on twitter @big_cases.  

DC Legal Hackers is the DC Chapter of a nationwide movement of hacking and technology groups with members who care about the intersection of law and technology and “seek to improve legal practice through technology while simultaneously using legal skills to promote technological innovation and exploration.” The group holds regular events on a wide range of activities at the intersection of law and technology around town.

We’re proud to be a part of DC’s Legal Hacking community, and of all Georgetown Law’s many efforts to promote technology in law school curricula, legal scholarship, and political advocacy. Congratulations to all who were honored at this year’s Le Hackies!

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January 17, 2018 - Institute Releases Annual Report on Inclusive Innovation Work with BEACON: The DC Women Founders' Initiative

The Institute today released an annual report describing its first year of work incubating BEACON: The D.C. Women Founders' Initiative.

BEACON is a community-led campaign that focuses on making Washington, D.C. the most influential and supportive city for women entrepreneurs in the United States. As a collaborative effort led by local entrepreneurs, service providers, policy experts and community leaders, BEACON aims to recognize and address gaps in services to better support women entrepreneurs.

BEACON is led by a Board of 12 volunteer leaders from D.C.’s entrepreneurship and policy ecosystem and receives strategic and operational support from the Institute. The Institute and our full-time inclusive innovation fellow, Deloris Wilson, provide ongoing support and conduct research to drive BEACON's policy work.

Among other projects, BEACON runs an annual grant program that funds innovative projects to support D.C.’s women entrepreneurs. It operates the District’s largest directory of women-owned businesses and resources for women founders. BEACON hosts or co-hosts regular programming, leads campaigns to address issues affecting women entrepreneurs, identifies speaking and vending opportunities for women business owners, and produces a biweekly newsletter showcasing resources and opportunities that reaches over 2000 subscribers.

Since launching BEACON in November 2016, we have presented research findings to organizations such as the National Women’s Business Council and the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

BEACON's first major report is scheduled for release in April 2018.

BEACON's first annual report is available here

  Tech Institute Executive Director Alexandra Givens (3rd from left), Fellow Deloris Wilson (2nd from right), and other members of the BEACON Board

Tech Institute Executive Director Alexandra Givens (3rd from left), Fellow Deloris Wilson (2nd from right), and other members of the BEACON Board

January 16, 2018 - Tech Institute to Host Summer Cohort of Girls Who Code

We're thrilled to announce that we will be hosting a cohort of high school students this summer for the national program Girls Who Code. A group of 20 local D.C. high school girls will spend their summer at the Law School, taking free daily coding lessons with Girls Who Code instructors and participating in policy and careers talks organized by us.

Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit that works to close the gender gap in technology. Its free Summer Immersion Program began in 2012 in New York City, and has now expanded to 17 U.S. cities, with 70 cohorts this summer serving over 1,400 girls. 

Our cohort is open to rising high school juniors and seniors in the D.C. area, who can apply for the program here! (Disclaimer: applications are reviewed and admissions decisions are made solely by Girls Who Code). The deadline to apply is February 16, 2018. 

We're excited to welcome our group of students and look forward to organizing talks and field trips for the group this summer. We owe a special thank you to Software.org, which is underwriting the full costs of the program for these talented young women. 

You can learn more about Girls Who Code here.

If you know a high school student who may be interested in applying, please share this great opportunity!


January 10, 2018 - Prof. Paul Ohm Launches Blog About Popular Course "Computer Programming for Lawyers"

Two years ago, Georgetown Law's Paul Ohm launched a new class focused on teaching law students how to code. The class, which is designed for students with no prior background in computer programming, introduces students to programming and computer science concepts to equip them with the skills 21st century lawyers need.

Upon completing the class, law students are able to write simple to moderately complex computer programs that can automate text-handling and data-handling tasks. Just as important, law students gain confidence in programming and computer science concepts--an essential skill for lawyers to speak fluently with today's clients, and for policymakers to better understand the technology field. 

Originally designed for ~25 students, Paul's class currently enrolls 75 law students each year and has a waitlist that is 50 students long. As Paul has noted, if he sustains this rate, as many as 15% of Georgetown Law JD grads will be competent computer programmers by the time they graduate.

Georgetown's Computer Programming for Lawyers class has been written about in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the American Bar Association Journal and other outlets. Today, Paul launched a blog that provides further context on the course. The site is intended for Georgetown insiders and outsiders to see the course materials, our approach to teaching it, and advice for schools considering their own programming-for-lawyers class.

View the new Computer Programming for Lawyers blog here.

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December 21, 2017 - Georgetown Privacy Center Issues New Report on Use of Facial Recognition Scans At Airports

Georgetown's Center on Privacy & Technology issued a new report today on the increasing use of facial recognition technology at U.S. airports. The report, "Not Ready for TakeOff: Face Scans at Airport Departure Gates" describes this technology as a "a billion dollar solution in search of a problem." Released today, the report has already prompted a bipartisan Congressional response from U.S. Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ed Markey (D-Mass).

The report notes that U.S. and foreign travelers departing from at least 8 U.S. airports—in Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New York City, Houston, and Washington D.C.—are currently having their faces scanned for comparison to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)'s biometric database. DHS' current plans would expand the program to every traveler departing the United States by plane, at a projected cost of $1 billion. 

The report flags several major legal and technical problems with this approach: most notably, that Congress has never clearly authorized the border collection of biometrics from American citizens using face recognition technology; and that DHS has failed to comply with a federal law requiring it to conduct a rulemaking process to implement the airport face scanning program.

The report also flags that the face scanning technology used by DHS may also make frequent mistakes. The authors write:

"According to DHS’ own data, DHS’ face recognition systems erroneously reject as many as 1 in 25 travelers using valid credentials. At this high rate, DHS’ error-prone face scanning system could cause 1,632 passengers to be wrongfully delayed or denied boarding every day at New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport alone. What’s more, DHS does not appear to have any sense of how effective its system will be at actually catching impostors—the system’s primary goal."

The report makes several recommendations—including that DHS should justify its use of this costly program; the agency should stop the program until it has conducted the required rulemaking; that DHS should prove that the technology works well without a high rate of false results; and that DHS should adopt safeguards to prevent secondary uses of facial recognition data. The report also underscores airlines' responsibility to ensure DHS follows these measures before agreeing to permit the use of such technology. View the full report and recommendations here.

Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) responded to the report immediately on Tuesday by issuing a letter to DHS questioning the use of airport facial recognition scans. 

“We are concerned that the use of the program on U.S. citizens remains facially unauthorized,” the Senators write. “We request that DHS stop the expansion of this program and provide Congress with its explicit statutory authority to use and expand a biometric exit program on U.S. citizens.” 

The New York Times provided excellent coverage of the report, and you can view the Privacy Center's Harrison Rudolph (L'16) discuss the report in a Facebook Live interview here.

As always, you can follow Georgetown Law's phenomenal privacy team on Twitter at @GeorgetownCPT.  


December 4, 2017 - New Issue of the Georgetown Law Tech Review is Live!

Congratulations to the editors and staff of the Georgetown Law Technology Review, which released the first issue of its second volume today!  

The issue contains a wealth of articles on tech law and policy-related matters, ranging from an article by Alice Armitage, Andrew K. Cordova, and Rebecca Siegel on "Design Thinking: The Answer to the Impasse Between Innovation and Regulation" to case comments on U.S. v. Ackerman, Samsung v. Apple, and Packham v. North Carolina, to legal news pieces covering developments in trade secrets law, COPPA and connected toys, and developments under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The issue also contains the GLTR's signature "tech explainers", short pieces designed to explain important technologies in an accessible way for lawyers, judges and policymakers. Recent technologies covered include hacking, multifactor authentication, VPNs, social media algorithms, and how machine learning and social media are being used in the field of mental health.

Whileformal issues are released twice a year, GLTR puts out a steady stream of tech explainers, case commentaries and legal news. For updates, follow them on Twitter at @GLTReview. 

View the downloadable version of Volume II: Issue 1 here.

 


November 30, 2017 - Institute Faculty Director Angela Campbell Honored at National Hispanic Media Coalition’s Washington, D.C. Impact Awards

Angela Campbell, head of Georgetown’s IPR Communications & Technology Law Clinic and one of our Faculty Directors, received the Outstanding Advocate Impact Award on Wednesday at the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s 2017 Washington, D.C. Impact Awards. The award recognized Angela’s outstanding contributions toward policies that bridge the digital divide and protect the interests of the Latino community and people of color.

In honoring Angela, the National Hispanic Media Coalition particularly noted the Georgetown Law clinic’s petition to the Federal Communications Commission to stop hate speech on broadcast airwaves. You can read further coverage of Angela’s work here.

Angela was recognized alongside Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, who also received Outstanding Public Service Impact Awards.

Angela has been a member of the Georgetown Law faculty for nearly 30 years. The Communications & Technology Law Clinic, which she leads, represents non-profit organizations before the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, and Federal courts to establish and enforce media policies in the public interest.

Under Angela’s supervision, law students and graduate fellows have advocated for, among other things, diversifying media ownership, protecting children’s online privacy, increasing access to media for persons with disabilities, and making broadcast stations more accountable to the public. Angela argued and won an appeal in the Third Circuit that reversed an FCC decision that would have allowed tremendous concentration within the broadcast industry.      

Angela serves on the Board of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, on the Steering Committee of the Food Marking Work Group, and as a Faculty Director to Georgetown Law’s Institute for Technology Law & Policy and Center on Privacy and Technology.

Founded in 1986, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a progressive media advocacy and civil rights organization, ensuring the Latino community is fairly and consistently represented in news and entertainment and that their voices are heard over the airwaves and on the internet.

This was NHMC’s Eighth Annual Impact Awards Reception. Past honorees include Senator Robert Menendez, Senator Ed Markey, Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo, Congressman José E. Serrano, Congressman Ben Ray Luján, Congressman Raúl Grijalva, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, Jessica Rosenworcel and then-FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps, and then-Congresswoman Hilda Solis. You can learn more about NHMC here.

We're tremendously proud to have Angela as one of our Faculty Directors and as a leader in the Georgetown Law community. Congratulations on the award!

 

  Georgetown's Angela Campbell (r) with fellow NHMC award recipient Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Georgetown's Angela Campbell (r) with fellow NHMC award recipient Congresswoman Maxine Waters

November 29, 2017 - Georgetown's Laura Moy Testifies on Algorithms, Privacy & Net Neutrality Before House SubcommitteeS

The Privacy Center's Deputy Director Laura Moy testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday during a hearing co-convened by the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Communications & Technology and Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection. 

The hearing, titled "Algorithms: How Companies’ Decisions About Data and Content Impact Consumers", ended up covering a wide range of issues, ranging from algorithms and consumer expectations to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's recently-announced proposal to reverse the 2016 Open Internet Order that enshrines net neutrality protections.

In her written testimony, Laura explained the importance of protecting consumers' information in circumstances where consumers really have no choice whether to share the information, such as with Internet Service Providers and Credit Reporting Agencies:

"Virtually every single consumer shares information about everything they do online with an Internet service provider (ISP). Consumers share this information not because they want to, but because they must. . . Sharing information with an ISP is an unavoidable part of going online.

"An ISP can see what websites its subscribers visit and when they visit them, and can make inferences based on that information. . . In addition, even when consumers’ online activities have been purged of personal identifiers, such as name or a subscriber identifier, browsing histories can still be linked back to specific individuals. . . No other type of actor in the Internet ecosystem has access to as rich and reliable a stream of private information about individual users as ISPs. [...]

"As with Internet service providers, consumers have no choice but to share highly private information with CRAs like Equifax. The massive troves of valuable and potentially damaging information that CRAs maintain are provided by furnishers, not by consumers themselves. This is part of why consumers are so outraged by the recent Equifax breach."

She went on to describe the powerful ways in which algorithms, which often rely on such private data, can impact consumers' daily lives:

"Algorithms may be used to determine which job applicants are invited to come in for an interview, where police officers should patrol, or how long a person convicted of a crime should spend in jail. Algorithms also select much of what we read and see online. They may determine which products are presented to us in advertisements, which movies are recommended to us, which friends’ photos we see, and which news articles we read.

"Algorithmic decision-making may streamline some aspects of our lives, but algorithms can sometimes have flaws that lead to negative or unfair consequences. For example, hiring algorithms have been accused of unfairly discriminating against people with mental illness. Sentencing algorithms—intended to make sentencing fairer by diminishing the role of potentially biased human judges—may actually discriminate against Black people. Search algorithms may be more likely to surface advertisements for arrest records—regardless of whether such records exist—when presented with characteristically Black names. 

She cautioned:

"The use of consumer data to power algorithmic decision-making deserves particularly close scrutiny when the decisions to be made will affect opportunities for education, healthcare, financial products, or employment.

"Consumers want more control over their private information, and consistently are asking for it. According to a 2016 report from the Pew Research Center, “91% of adults agree or strongly agree that consumers have lost control of how personal information is collected and used by companies,” and 68% believe current laws are not good enough in protecting people’s privacy online. Consumers need clear forward-looking protections that are flexible, strongly enforced, and appropriate based on context."

Laura's testimony—which we highly recommend you read in full—concludes with a concrete set of recommendations to protect consumer information in this rapidly-evolving field:

"To improve privacy and data security for consumers, the FTC—or another agency or agencies—must be given more powerful regulatory tools and stronger enforcement authority.

The law should grant an expert agency or agencies the authority to develop prospective privacy and data security rules, in consultation with the public, so that data collectors and users can know in advance what standards apply to consumers’ information. Regulations should also be flexible, allowing agencies to adjust them as technology changes, as the FTC did just a few years ago with the COPPA Rule.

Congress also should ensure that whatever agency or agencies are to be in charge of enforcing privacy and data security standards have substantial civil penalty enforcement authority. . . Regulations are effective to deter violations only if entities fear the punishment that would surely follow.

"[P]rivacy laws and regulations should be context-specific, carefully tailored based on the avoidability of the information sharing, the sensitivity of the information shared, and the expectations of consumers... When information sharing is unavoidable or less avoidable by consumers, it is important that the information be protected. [...]

Policymakers should also consider how the avoidability of any particular choice presented to a consumer may be affected or distorted by other factors that make it unavoidable as a practical matter, such as whether the choice is technically difficult for most consumers to understand or exercise. [...]

"In determining what level of protection should be afforded to information shared in a particular context, policymakers should also examine how sensitive the shared information is. . . Protection for consumers’ information should also be tailored based on consumers’ expectations for how the information will be used."

Laura's written testimony also included specific recommendations in the context of Credit Reporting Agencies, and her oral testimony went into a host of additional issues relating to the importance of net neutrality protections.

You can view her full written testimony here, and watch the video here.

As we said, it's worth the read.

  Georgetown's Laura Moy testifies before the House Energy & Commerce Committee

Georgetown's Laura Moy testifies before the House Energy & Commerce Committee


November 15, 2017 - Institute Hosts Capitol Hill Event on the Sinclair-Tribune Merger and the Future of Media Ownership

On Wednesday November 15, the Tech Institute’s Distinguished Fellow Gigi Sohn moderated a panel on the proposed merger of Sinclair Broadcasting Group and Tribune Media and a broader discussion of media ownership rules in the age of the internet. The panel came one day before the FCC voted on a controversial proposal to amend media ownership rules.

The event featured representatives from both Sinclair and Tribune, alongside Georgetown Adjunct Professor David Goodfriend, the Georgetown IPR Communications & Technology Clinic's Andy Schwartzman, Carmen Scurato of the National Hispanic Media Competition and Jim Winston, President of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.) also provided remarks.

The event was broadcast on C-SPAN; a recording is available here.

You can view the Twitter conversation about the event at #SinclairTribTalk.

Thank you to our panelists!

Debators:

Jerald Fritz, Executive Vice President for Strategic & Legal Affairs, ONE Media. 

David Goodfriend, The Goodfriend Group

Panel:

Moderator: Gigi Sohn, Distinguished Fellow, Institute for Technology Law & Policy at Georgetown Law

Rebecca Hanson, Senior Vice President / Strategy and Policy, Sinclair Broadcast Group

Eddie Lazarus, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Tribune Corporation

Andy Schwartzman, Benton Senior Counselor, Georgetown Institute for Public Representation Technology and Communications Practice Group

Carmen Scurato, Director for Policy and Legal Affairs, National Hispanic Media Coalition

Jim Winston, President, National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters

Learn more and RSVP here: www.georgetowntech.org/rsvp.

November 3, 2017 - Institute Hosts 9th Annual Georgetown-Berkeley Conference on the Role of the Courts in Patent Law & Policy

On Friday November 3rd, the Institute hosted the Ninth Annual Georgetown Law-Berkeley Law conference on the Role of the Courts in Patent Law & Policy.

The day began with a keynote addresses from Federal Circuit Judge Raymond Chen, who was confirmed to the bench in August 2013 after serving as Solicitor of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. 

A panel on "Recent Developments in Case Management" brought together  Judge Rodney Gilstrap (E.D. Tex.) and Chief Judge Leonard Stark (D.Del.) -- the two judges with the heaviest patent caseload in the country -- with Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte (N.D. Cal.), White & Case's Shamita Etienne Cummings and Berkeley Law's Peter Menell for an in-depth discussion of venue following the Supreme Court's landmark decision in TC Heartland and other case management issues.

The day continued with a panel covering recent developments at the Patent Trials and Appeals Board (PTAB), featuring the PTAB's own Chief Judge David Ruschke (Georgetown Law '97) and other experts. Hot topics included parallel litigation, amendments at the PTAB following the Federal Circuit's decision in Aqua Products, and -- of course -- the Supreme Court's upcoming reviewing of the constitutionality of PTAB proceedings in Oil States Energy Services v. Greene's Energy Group.

In a lunchtime keynote address, the Interim Director of the U.S. PTO Joe Matal shared his views on potential areas for legislative activity in patent policy, drawing on his own experiences as a key staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee during the drafting of the America Invents Act. 

His address was followed by a flashtalk on patent litigation trends presented by data analytics expert Emily Hostage of RPX Corporation. The day's third panel featured leading practitioners Morgan Chu, Matt Powers, Celine Crowson, and Ken Korea and Professor Bernard Chao analyzing remedies and damages law. The day concluded with a discussion of the significant patent decisions issued by the Supreme Court and Federal Circuit in the past twelve months, featuring Georgetown's Jay Thomas, Professors Margo Bagley, Jay Sherkow, and Elizabeth Winston, and retired judge Rod McKelvie (D. Del.).

A video of the event is available here

You can view the full program here. To receive notifications of future conferences, please join our mailing list here. Many thanks to all who came!


October 25, 2017 - Supreme Court Experts Speak on Oil States Case at Event with Giles S. Rich Inn of Court

On Wednesday October 25, the Institute welcomed celebrated Supreme Court litigators Jeffrey Lamken, Deanna Maynard and Irv Gornstein and patent experts Jay Thomas, John Thorne and Rakesh Kilaru for a panel on the most-watched patent case of the year, Oil States Energy Services v. Greene's Energy Group LLC. The case, scheduled for Supreme Court argument in November, challenges the constitutionality of the inter partes review process created by the America Invents Act of 2011.

The event was a special session of the Giles S. Rich Inn of Court, a professional organization focused on fostering professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills in the area of intellectual property. It provided a wonderful opportunity for students to engage with leaders in the field and practitioners of all professional levels during a lively and important debate. You can learn more about the Giles S. Rich Inn of Court here.

  Supreme Court and patent law experts speak at the GSR Inn of Court's panel on  Oil States Energy Services v. Greene's Energy Group.

Supreme Court and patent law experts speak at the GSR Inn of Court's panel on Oil States Energy Services v. Greene's Energy Group.

October 18, 2017 - Public Interest Leaders Speak at Workshop on Tech Careers in the Public Interest

On Wednesday October 18, the Institute welcomed an all-star panel of experts for a student workshop on tech careers in public interest technology law. Practitioners from groups as diverse as Public Knowledge and the Electronic Privacy Information Center to Consumer Reports and Upturn shared tips on building experience in law school, finding an issue you're passionate about, and navigating a career that moves between non-profits, government service, and the private sector.

Following the presentation, speakers offered students one-on-one advice on their resumes and career plans. The groups participating included: Public Knowledge, Upturn, the Future of Privacy Forum, the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute, the Center for Democracy & Technology, ACLU, Free Press, Consumer Reports, the Electronic Privacy Information Center as well as the Georgetown Tech Institute, Georgetown Center on Privacy & Technology, and Communications & Technology Clinic.

The Privacy Center's Deputy Director Laura Moy prepared a great handout for the event listing 2018 internships in tech-policy focused public interest roles. For a copy of the list, email TechInstitute@law.georgetown.edu.

 

  Panelists speak at a workshop on Tech Careers in the Public Interest

Panelists speak at a workshop on Tech Careers in the Public Interest