DLI | News


DLI is excited to be showcasing two of its latest research collaborations at the Federal Trade Commission's fifth annual PrivacyCon on July 21, 2020. Postdoctoral Fellow Ido Sivan-Sevilla teamed-up with Cornell Tech Masters students, Wenyi Chu and Xiaoyu Liang, to develop a contextual understanding of online tracking. Using Helen Nissenbaum’s theory of contextual integrity, they relied on open source tools to measure how third-parties are identifying users in popular websites that are associated with news, health, and education domains. In the second collaboration, Visiting Fellow Yan Schwartznaider worked with Madelyn Sanfilippo, Irwin Reyes, Helen Nissenbaum, and Serge Egelman to explore the privacy practices of popular disaster apps, highlighting location information flows. The empirical study compares content analysis of privacy policies and government agency policies, also structured around the contextual integrity framework, with static and dynamic app analysis documenting the personal data sent by 15 apps. Read more >

DLI Visiting Fellow Yaël Eisenstat discusses the highlights of her virtual SXSW panel, where she explores the future of tech responsibility in relation to Section 230. "Who bears responsibility for the real-world consequences of technology? This question has been unduly complicated for decades by the 1996 legislation that provides immunity from liability to platforms that host third-party content. According to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, written before platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter existed: 'No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.'" Read more >

DLI Postdoctoral Fellows Jake Goldenfein and Salomé Viljoen, along with Ben Green, have published an illuminating article in Jacobin, discussing how we can achieve the public health benefits of data without accepting abusive and illicit surveillance. "As the world scrambles to stop the coronavirus pandemic, governments and technology companies have begun exploring new partnerships to track the spread of COVID-19 and target preventative interventions. Emerging reports about these collaborations have sparked a debate: do you want privacy or public health?" Read article >

The Digital Life Initiative is very excited to invite PhD students to join its dynamic community of technologists, humanists, social scientists and legal scholars as DLI Doctoral Fellows for the 2020-21 academic year. More Info >

Don't miss DLI Visiting Researcher Yaël Eistenstat discuss the implications of COVID-19 on our digital freedom during her South By Southwest virtual panel. She is joined by Stephen Rosenbaum (Managing Director, NYC Media Lab), David Kaye, (Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, United Nations) and Ellen L. Weintraub (Commissioner, Federal Election Commission). Watch here >

In her latest Critical Reflections post, DLI Postdoctoral Fellow Salome Viljoen has provided a compelling overview of California’s Consumer Privacy Act (the CCPA), as well as thoughts on what it does (and does not) achieve for consumer privacy. Read more >

Despite these profoundly challenging times, the DLI Seminar will continue to stream every Thursday at 12.30pm throughout the Spring 2020 semester. We ask that you log into Zoom to access the live link, and kindly keep your microphone muted. More Info >

DLI will host a single day autonomous vehicles workshop on Friday 13 March 2020, bringing together experts from engineering, policy, and industry to discuss the social implications of autonomous transport from different perspectives. As public perceptions of autonomous vehicles waver, rigorous ethical and political analysis of the future of transport has never been more important. More info >

Having kickstarted the Digital Life Seminar with Kashmir Hill's New York Times hard-hitting expose on Clearview AI, DLI postdoctoral fellow Jake Goldenfein was interviewed by CNN Business on the benefits and harms of facial recognition technology. Listen to the full interview >

Digital Life Initiative fellows Diana Freed (2019-2020) and Nirvan Tyagi (2018-2019) were among the 36 emerging scholars who received 2020 Facebook Fellowships. This prestigious fellowship provides students with support for their research projects, as well as opportunities to engage with Facebook researchers. Diana and Nirvan, as well as three other Cornellians, were selected from a pool of 1800 applicants. We are very proud of their accomplishments!

DLI is excited to announce that Postdoctoral Fellow Jake Goldenfein has published his book Monitoring Laws: Profiling and Identity in the World State with Cambridge University Press. Traces the history of government profiling, the effects of contemporary technologies on surveillance practices, and how the law protects individuals by protecting 'identity'. Goldenfein's analysis of emerging legal protections for contemporary technological environments makes this ideal for anyone interested in how computation is changing society and governance. Read more >

DLI Visiting Fellow Yaël Eisenstat has released a compelling op-ed for the Washington Post, where she discusses her role as former elections integrity head at Facebook, and the tensions surrounding political advertising. "I had spent much of my career working to strengthen and defend democracy — including freedom of speech — as an intelligence officer, diplomat and White House adviser. Now I had the opportunity to help a company that I viewed as playing a major role in one of the biggest threats to our democracy possibly correct course." Read more >

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