The New Frontiers of Privacy Harm

Tags: Privacy / Technology Policy

For a report summarizing the conference written by Laura Littman, Mindy Swaney, and Amber Williams, Click Here.

What harms are privacy laws designed to prevent? How are people injured when corporations, governments, or other individuals collect, disclose, or use information about them in ways that defy expectations, prior agreements, formal rules, or settled norms? How has technology changed the nature of privacy harm?

These questions loom large in debates over privacy law. Often, they are answered skeptically. The President of the United States justifies massive NSA surveillance programs by arguing that non-content surveillance is not very harmful. Advertisers resist calls for aggressive forms of Do Not Track by arguing that the way they track online behavior creates little risk of harm. Judges dismiss lawsuits brought by users suing services that suffer massive data breaches, for lack of harm.

Meanwhile, many privacy law scholars and advocates do not speak consistently, if they speak at all, about privacy harm. Some prefer to talk about “problems” or “conflicts” not harms. Others point primarily to abstract, societal harms such as chilling effects or harms to dignity or individual autonomy. Many of these people have tried to move the conversation away from harm and what they see as crabbed, tort-centric approaches to privacy protection.

It is time to revisit old conversations about harm. New practices and technologies raise new threats of harm. The fear of Big Data techniques (for example in the public debate over the pregnancy prediction program of the retailer Target) have inspired new theories of harm. Economists and computer scientists have developed new ways of measuring privacy harm. Regulators have adopted new ways of talking about harm.

Join the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship on Friday, January 17, 2014, from 9:00 AM – 4:15 PM as we venture into the New Frontiers of Privacy Harm. We will assemble thought leaders and top practitioners and regulators for a diverse and rich set of conversations about privacy harm.


Welcome and Opening Remarks
  • Phil Weiser
    Hatfield Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School
  • Paul Ohm
    Associate Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Panel One: Is Government Surveillance Harmful?
  • Paul Ohm — Moderator
    Associate Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
  • Susan Freiwald — Presenter
    Professor, University of San Francisco School of Law
  • Omer Tene — Presenter
    Vice President, Chief Knowledge Officer, International Association of Privacy Professionals
  • Ben Wizner — Commenter
    Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project
  • Todd Hinnen — Commenter
    Partner, Perkins Coie

Panel Two: Is Commercial Tracking Harmful?
  • Scott Peppet — Moderator
    Professor of Law, University of Colorado
  • Julia Angwin — Presenter
    Journalist and Author
  • Fran Maier — Commenter
    Founder and Chair of the Board, TRUSTe
  • Edward Felten — Commenter
    Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer, White House
  • James C. Cooper — Commenter
    Director, Research and Policy, Law and Economics Center, School of Law, George Mason University

Keynote: A Conversation with Julie Brill
  • Paul Ohm — Moderator
    Associate Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
  • Julie Brill
    Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
Panel Three: Measuring Harm and the Risk of Harm
  • Meg Ambrose — Moderator
    Assistant Professor, Communication, Culture, and Technology (CCT), Georgetown University
  • Ryan Calo — Presenter
    Lane Powell and D. Wayne Gittinger Associate Professor, University of Washington School of Law
  • Christopher Wolf — Presenter
    Partner, Hogan Lovells
  • Deven McGraw — Presenter
    Director of the Health Privacy Project, Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Adam Thierer — Commenter
    Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center at George Mason University
  • David Zetoony — Commenter
    Partner, Bryan Cave LLP

Panel Four: Tailoring Solutions to Privacy Harm Through Regulation, Architecture, and Self-Regulation
  • Harry Surden — Moderator
    Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School
  • Woodrow Hartzog — Presenter
    Assistant Professor, Cumberland School of Law
  • Ashkan Soltani — Commenter
    Independent Researcher & Technologist, Former Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Office of Science and Technology Policy, White House & Former Chief Technologist for the Federal Trade Commission
  • Michael Hintze — Commenter
    Chief Privacy Counsel and Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation
  • Rob Sherman — Commenter
    Deputy Chief Privacy Officer, Facebook
  • Alvaro Bedoya — Commenter
    Chief Counsel, Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, United States Senate
  • Paula Bruening — Commenter
    Senior Counsel, Global Privacy Policy, Intel

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