DLI Dispatch | Summer 2023 Issue
"This has been a year of growth for DLI, with new programs, such as, Creative Reflections and Tech News Thursdays, international workshops, and an expanding research footprint at key conferences in the US and beyond. Ethics, the general good, and human dignity are paramount as we strive to innovate in approaches to designing and regulating powerful digital technologies with these fundamental values in mind. We bid proud farewells to DLI-ers going out into the world to continue their amazing accomplishments. Regular activities resume in Fall 2023. We can’t wait to introduce you to DLI’s newest class of fellows and welcome you to our events!" – Helen Nissenbaum
DLI Dispatch | February 2023 Issue
Glean more about the exciting research activity taking place at DLI: "We are delighted to announce the Peggy J. Koenig Civic Innovation Fellowship, awarded to individuals whose work contributes to the betterment of civic life through digital technologies. We are also excited to announce the launch of Creative Reflections. Led by Michael Byrne, Creative Reflections will foster conversations around technology and the arts. We invite you to learn about DLI programs — new and old — and to join us when you can!" – Helen Nissenbaum, DLI Director
DLI Dispatch | October 2022 Issue
For latest updates from the DLI Community and beyond, read the Fall edition of DLI Dispatch: "Momentum has steadily grown in the effort to turn powerful digital technologies toward positive societal ends. I am proud of the role the Digital Life Initiative has played and continues to play in this effort as our work directly and indirectly informs law and regulation, as well as the public mindset. Driven by an abiding commitment to values of justice, privacy, safety, trustworthiness, and a decent quality of life for all, the DLI community continuously seeks a deep and rigorous understanding of these positive developments in order to secure them now, and in the future. Behold, a glimpse." – Helen Nissenbaum, DLI Director
DLI Dispatch | June 2022 Issue
Catch-up on our latest news through the Summer edition of DLI Dispatch: "DLI research, teaching, and mentorship tackle the hardest ethical challenges confronting digital societies. The work we do — chronicled in DLI Dispatch throughout the year — would be impossible without the dedication of DLI’s superb staff, brilliance of our research community, wholehearted confidence of Cornell Tech's leadership, and the ongoing investment of our generous supporters. To all, I offer profoundest thanks. Until we kick off the academic year 2022-23, I wish you a nourishing summer!"
Call for Submissions | Joel R. Reidenberg Northeast Privacy Scholars Workshop 2022
The members of the program committee and Northeastern Law’s Center for Law, Information and Creativity (CLIC) invite submissions for the Joel R. Reidenberg Northeast Privacy Scholars Workshop (NPSW), to be held on November 11, 2022, at NYU School of Law in New York City. The NPSW, now in its fifth year and generously sponsored by Microsoft, offers privacy scholars from diverse fields the opportunity to receive extensive, constructive commentary on their works in progress. Submissions are welcome from a variety of privacy-related topics and from a wide range of disciplines, including, but not limited to, law, social science, computer science, engineering, communications and public policy.
Emmanuel Moss Discusses How New Law Impacts Algorithmic Accountability
DLI Postdoc Fellow Manny Moss and his co-authors, Jacob Metcalf and Brittany Smith explain how the new Algorithmic Accountability Act will help keep Big Tech's algorithms from causing unintended consequences: "We’ve seen again and again the harmful, unintended consequences of irresponsibly deployed algorithms: risk assessment tools in the criminal justice system amplifying racial discrimination, false arrests powered by facial recognition, massive environmental costs of server farms, unacknowledged psychological harm from social media interactions, and new, sometimes-insurmountable hurdles in accessing public services. These actual harms are egregious, but what makes the current regime hopeless is that companies are incentivized to remain ignorant (or at least claim they to be) about the harms they expose us to, lest they be found liable."
Thomas K. Gilbert Releases Whitepaper on Choices, Risks, and Reward Reports
Thomas Krendl Gilbert, DLI Postdoc Fellow, has a released a whitepaper around "Choices, Risks, and Reward Reports: Charting Public Policy for Reinforcement Learning Systems" with Sarah Dead, Tom Zick and Nathan Lambert. "Reinforcement learning (RL) is one of the most promising branches of foundational research in artificial intelligence (AI). RL formulates intelligence as a generic learning problem that, if solved, promises to match or exceed human capabilities. Current research and industrial applications of RL include social media recommendations, game-playing, traffic modeling, clinical health trials, and electric power utilities, among many other open-ended problems. In the long term, RL is considered by many AI theorists to be the most promising path to artificial general intelligence. This places RL practitioners in a position to design systems that have never existed before and lack prior documentation in law and policy."
Nathaniel Lubin's Article on Facebook's User Engagement Published in The Atlantic
DLI Visiting Research Fellow, Nathaniel Lubin, has co-authored a compelling article with Matthew Hindman and Trevor Davis for The Atlantic around Facebook's a 'Superuser-Supremacy' Problem: "Facebook activity is far more concentrated than most realize. The company likes to emphasize the breadth of its platform: nearly 2.9 billion monthly active users, visiting millions of public pages and groups. This is misleading. Our analysis shows that public activity is focused on a far narrower set of pages and groups, frequented by a much thinner slice of users. Top pages such as those of Ben Shapiro, Fox News, and Occupy Democrats generated tens of millions of interactions a month in our data, while all U.S. pages ranked 300 or lower in terms of engagement received less than 1 million interactions each. (The pages with the most engagement included examples from the far right and the far left, but right-wing pages were dominant among the top-ranked overtly political pages.)"
DLI Dispatch | Newsletter, December 2021 Edition
For the latest news round-up, explore the December edition of DLI Dispatch: "Pandemic challenges have not dampened the DLI spirit. Reuniting in person, our community kicked-off a slate of seminars, research groups, and collaborations. We’ve welcomed new faces and new partnerships, and continued to produce impactful research on algorithmic accountability, privacy, AI ethics, automation, and other ethical complexities of digital life. But we’ve missed our broad DLI network. May the year 2022 bring us together again in productive engagement! " – Helen Nissenbaum, DLI Director
Deborah Estrin Honored by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
DLI Affiliated Faculty Deborah Estrin will be honored for her major contributions to mobile and wireless systems research by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Estrin was confirmed as the 2022 recipient of the IEEE John von Neumann Medal, given “for outstanding achievements in computer-related science and technology.”
DLI Travels to Chicago for 3rd Symposium on Contextual Integrity
In late September, the University of Chicago hosted the third annual symposium on the applications of Contextual Integrity – a theory of privacy developed by DLI Director Helen Nissenbaum that equates privacy with information flows that match the existing norms for a given context. Facilitated through a hybrid format, where both the in person and online participants had a Zoom presence, this event brought together a diverse group of privacy minded scholars from Computer Science, Information Science, Law, Economics, and industry totaling over 100 attendees. Given the prevailing precariousness of the pandemic, organizers Yan Shvartzshnaider (York University), Blase Ur (University of Chicago), Marshini Chetty (University of Chicago), and Helen Nissenbaum (DLI, Cornell Tech) had to design an event that would keep attendees safe, yet provide a space to make connections and foster rigorous discussion. The symposium sessions unpacked Contextual Integrity's relationship to the domains of privacy, law, COVID-19, education, and tracking, as well as the intersections of art and technology.
The DLI Research Community Reunites on Campus
After 18-months of virtual interaction, DLI's fearless community of postdoc and doctoral fellows, visiting researchers and practitioners, and faculty reunited physically on campus to resume weekly Reading Group sessions and DLI Seminars, revitalized in their commitment to ethics, law, politics, and quality of life in digital societies. While the pandemic prevented the hosting of public events, we were still thrilled to have engaging discussions with guest speakers Edward Ongweso Jr (Motherboard, VICE News), Erik Forman (The Drivers Cooperative), Elizabeth Anne Watkins (Center for Information Technology Policy) and Ari Waldman (Northeastern University). We also heard from from talented members of the DLI research community: Yiran Zhao, Thomas Krendl Gilbert, Emily Tseng, Ero Balsa, Michael Byrne, A. F. Cooper, Marianne Aubin Le Quere, Nathaniel Lubin and Ilan Mandel. Their diverse presentation themes ranged from the surveillance of autonomous cars to choreographic activations using augmented reality; tech-enabled intimate partner violence to the adoption of crypto-based privacy technologies; and characterizing accountability for machine learning to the contributions of local news at scale.
DLI Undergraduate Club Kickstarted by Milstein Students in Ithaca
Following the Milstein Summer Program at Cornell Tech, DLI Research Fellow Michael Byrne teamed-up with students Geoffrey Brann, Annie Rogers, and Hal Reed (pictured above) to launch the DLI Club in Ithaca. The Club will kickstart in 2022 to foster a community of undergraduates interested in engaging with the most difficult issues and questions posed by digital technologies today. Through bi-weekly gatherings, students will be immersed in seminars that bridge cross-campus connections with the pioneering scholarship from DLI’s research community at Cornell Tech in New York City. Furthermore, the Club will source and review leading research in domains ranging from privacy and cybersecurity to AI ethics. Students will be invited from all fields across Cornell University to join in supporting the mission to shape the future of digital societies by caring about its deep impacts on ethical and political values. Stay tuned for updates from Club leaders Brann, Rogers and Reed!
DLI Fellow Collaborates with New York City Ballet's Choreographic Institute
Due to his own explorations into dance and technology, DLI Research Fellow Michael Byrne was excited to collaborate with NYCB's New York Choreographic Institute to activate spaces within Cornell Tech's Tata Innovation Center and Bloomberg Center on Roosevelt Island. The majestic campus environments served as creative prompts for choreographers Sophie Laplane and Alysa Pires – both quarantined in Scotland and Canada respectively – to devise works with dancers from New York City Ballet. In the absence of Laplane and Pires in the rehearsal studio, technology proved the essential mediatory interface for making, presenting unique challenges while offering dynamic affordances.
Design Choices: Mechanism Design and Platform Capitalism
DLI Postdoc Salomé Viljoen partnered with DLI Alums Jake Goldenfein and Lee McGuigan to explore mechanism design as an intellectual and technical tool in the design of multi-sided platforms. "In this article for Big Data and Society, we ask what ideological work mechanism design is doing in economics, computer science, and its applications to the governance of digital platforms. Observing mechanism design in action in algorithmic environments, we argue it has become a tool for producing information domination, distributing social costs in ways that benefit designers, and controlling and coordinating participants in multi-sided platforms."
DLI Collaborates with the Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity
Despite the persisting challenges and uncertainties of the pandemic, DLI's Michael Byrne joined Deborah Estrin, Mor Naaman, William Leon, Juliet Weissman, Niti Parikh, and a number of supporting staff to launch the inaugural in-residence Milstein Summer Program at Cornell Tech. The Summer Program is designed to be an immersive and collaborative learning experience for 20 talented undergraduate students, bridging the technological and humanistic understandings of our world through a series of mentored workshops, guest seminars, group projects, innovation challenges, and real-world engagements in New York City. Over the course of 8-weeks, students develop a situated appreciation for technological innovation, as well as the human context in which it unfolds.
Incoming DLI Postdoc Sunoo Park Named 2021 Computing Innovation Fellow
We are excited to announce that the Computing Research Association (CRA), the Computing Community Consortium (CCC), and the CIFellows Selection and Steering Committees have selected incoming DLI Postdoctoral Fellow Sunoo Park as a 2021 Computing Innovation Fellow. In May, the CRA and CCC launched the CIFellows program, which aims to provide a career-enhancing bridge experience for recent and soon-to-be computing PhD graduates to combat hiring disruptions due to COVID.
Nissenbaum Receives IACAP's Prestigious 2021 Covey Award
DLI is very proud to announce that the International Association for Computing and Philosophy has conferred our director, Helen Nissenbaum, with the 2021 Covey Award for her field-defining contributions to computing, ethics, and philosophy. Helen joins an august group of recipients, including John Weckert, Deborah G. Johnson, Raymond Turner, Jack Copeland, William J. Rapaport, Selmer Bringsjord, Margaret Boden, Luciano Floridi, Terrell Bynum, John R. Searle and Edward N. Zalta. Big congrats, Helen!
Data and Privacy in a Quasi-Public Space: Disney World as a Smart City
During his time with DLI as a Visiting Fellow, Yan Shvartzshnaider (York University) co-authored a paper with Madelyn Madelyn Rose Sanfilippo (University of Illinois) to examine the privacy implications of tracking technologies used in Disney World's theme parks and hotels. We are delighted to confirm that their paper 'Data and Privacy in a Quasi-Public Space: Disney World as a Smart City' has received the Lee Dirks Award for Best Full Research Paper at the 2021 iConference. "Disney World has long been at the forefront of technological adoption. Walt Disney theme parks implement emerging technologies before other consumer or public spaces and innovates new uses for existing technologies. In contrast with public contexts with representative governance, Disney World is both an engaging prototype and a functioning quasi-public smart city, wherein a private actor controls ICT adoption and governance. As cities increasingly partner with private corporations in pursuit of smart systems, Disney provides a glimpse into the future of smart city practice. In this paper, we both explore normative perceptions of data handling practices within Walt Disney World and discuss contextual divergences from conventional cities. Implications consider what can be learned about privacy, surveillance, and innovation for other public applications, stressing the limitations of and potential social harms from Disney as a model for public services."
Viljoen Article Accepted Into Yale Law Journal
We're delighted to confirm that Salomé Viljoen's article, 'Democratic Data: A Relational Theory For Data Governance', has been accepted into the Yale Law Journal. "Data governance law — the law regulating how data about people is collected, processed, and used — is the subject of lively theorizing. Concerns over datafication (the transformation of information or knowledge about people into a commodity) and its harmful personal and social effects have produced an abundance of proposals for reform. Different theories advance different legal interests in information, resulting in various individualist claims and remedies. Some seek to reassert individual control for data subjects over the terms of their datafication, while others aim to maximize data subject financial gain. But these proposals share a common conceptual flaw: they miss the central importance of population-level relations among individuals for how data collection produces both social value and social harm."
Networked Authoritarianism at the Edge
DLI Visiting Postdoc Maggie Jack conducted a qualitative research study that examined how village-level officials in rural Cambodia (who are relatively new internet users) utilize Facebook to supplement and extend long-standing patterns of information control. "The ways that authoritarian regimes are using digital tools and the internet to promote their own agendas, perform surveillance on marginalized groups, and chill oppositional speech are major challenges for the Southeast Asian region. More research needs to be done that gets past the headlines of resistance to understand the dynamics and consequences for the majority of internet users. The nuance that new research would provide might give Southeast Asian-based based companies or civil society groups more information on how to build safer new tools and infrastructures for accessing the internet."
How to Hold Social Media Accountable for Undermining Democracy
Following the recent riots in Washington D.C., DLI Visiting Fellow Yaël Eisenstat critiques the ways in which social media companies are making decisions about which content to amplify, elevate, and suggest to other users. "The storming of the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday by a mob of pro-Trump insurrectionists was shocking, but it was not surprising to anyone who has followed the growing prominence of conspiracy theorists, hate groups, and purveyors of disinformation online. While the blame for President Trump’s incitement to insurrection lies squarely with him, the biggest social media companies — most prominently my former employer, Facebook — are absolutely complicit."
DLI Dispatch | Nov-Dec 2020 Issue
"As a surreal 2020 draws to a close, I am inspired by the DLI community. Even as the pandemic immersed us in an unavoidable experiment in digital living, we continued to engage with urgent ethical challenges: unprecedented participation in the DLI seminar, research meetings, leading edge scholarship, dedicated learning, and collaboration with colleagues around the world. Thanks to a steadfast commitment from Cornell Tech and the generosity of supporters, DLI has flourished with amazing people and new programs, some showcased in this issue of DLI Dispatch." - Helen Nissenbaum, DLI Director
Democratic Data: A Relational Theory For Data Governance
In her latest paper, DLI's Postodoc Fellow Salomé Viljoen proposes a legal theory of data as social relations: "Different theories advance different legal interests in information, resulting in various individualist claims and remedies. Some seek to reassert individual control for data subjects over the terms of their datafication, while others aim to maximize data subject financial gain. But these proposals share a common conceptual flaw: they miss the central importance of population-level relations among individuals for how data collection produces both social value and social harm."
Private-Interest Cybersecurity Governance: The Case of Cyber Insurers
Don't miss Postdoctoral Fellow Ido Sivan-Sevilla's latest article for DLI's Critical Reflections: "Scholars of cybersecurity governance usually study government regulations or self-regulatory arrangements when assessing how ICTs are protected from unauthorized access. Less attention is devoted to the increasingly important role of private governance actors in this space (e.g. insurance companies, certification bodies). These actors are acting as ‘rule-intermediaries’ between governments/corporations [rule-makers] and those who collect, process, and use our data [rule-takers]. In the case of cyber insurers, their rule intermediation includes taking over ‘rule-making capacities’ over the assessment, prevention, and mitigation of data breaches. This is happening with no public oversight, and thus requires a close examination for tracing trends and biases in how insurers decide to protect our data."
MacArthur Foundation Funds AI, Policy, and Practice Project
Congratulations to DLI's Karen Levy and Helen Nissenbaum on the news that the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation will continue to support the AI, Policy and Practice Project: "Housed within the College of Computing and Information Science at Cornell University, we approach AI as a fundamentally socio-technical phenomenon, one that must be understood with both normative depth and technical precision. We combine technical, sociological, philosophical and legal expertise and methods, in order to more fully understand and more wisely develop the future path and impact of AI. We aim to contribute to — and engage with — researchers, policymakers, and practitioners."
DLI Postdoctoral Fellowships
The Digital Life Initiative (DLI) is excited to invite applications for its 2021 postdoctoral research fellowship supporting research in ethics, politics, and quality of life in digital societies, focusing on issues such as algorithmic decision systems, unfair discrimination, privacy, AI and ethics, and platform governance. For this unique opportunity to conduct research alongside ethicists, computer scientists, legal and policy researchers, data scientists, media studies researchers and social scientists, we welcome applicants from across the disciplinary spectrum.
When Cybersecurity Meets the Regulatory State: Case-Study Analysis of the Israeli Cybersecurity Regulatory Regime
DLI Postdoctoral Fellow Ido Sivan-Sevilla has co-authored a compelling chapter with Shani Sharvit: "The literature on risk and regulatory governance has barely heeded the institutionalization of cybersecurity regulatory practices by national policy regimes. As the role of the state in cybersecurity governance is gradually expanding, we still lack an empirical and theoretical understanding of how the regulatory state copes with the cybersecurity governance challenge. Therefore, we ask how the role of the state has expanded in leading cybersecurity governance efforts? What characteristics of cybersecurity governance challenge the regulatory state? And how the Israeli cybersecurity regulatory regime has been addressing those challenges? We trace the literature on the new roles of the state in cybersecurity governance and build an analytical framework based on the challenging characteristics of cybersecurity governance."
Data as Property?
DLI Postdoctoral Fellow Salome Viljoen has published an article for Phenomenal World about moving past individual propertarian and dignitarian claims to data, and towards democratic institutional forms of data governance. "Since the proliferation of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, critics of widely used internet communications services have warned of the misuse of personal data. Alongside familiar concerns regarding user privacy and state surveillance, a now-decades-long thread connects a group of theorists who view data—and in particular data about people—as central to what they have termed informational capitalism.1 Critics locate in datafication—the transformation of information into commodity—a particular economic process of value creation that demarcates informational capitalism from its predecessors."
DLI Technology Law and Policy Fellowship
Cornell Tech’s Digital Life Initiative is excited to announce that it is now recruiting for a newly created Fellowship in Technology Law and Policy. The Tech Law Fellow will augment DLI’s research and educational mission, examining digital life through the lens of ethics, politics, and quality of life. With guidance from DLI Director Helen Nissenbaum and Professor James Grimmelmann, the Tech Law Fellow will actively develop and pursue timely legal and policy responses to impending controversies and key decisions arising from the development and deployment of digital technologies.
DLI Receives Game-changing Gift From Peggy Koenig
The Digital Life Initiative is thrilled to announce a $2 million dollar gift from Peggy Koenig. This incredible gift will allow us to advance several core goals. A new Fellowship in Technology Law & Policy has been launched to bridge DLI's exceptional research on the societal impact of digital technologies with law and policy-making at city, state, and national levels. As with everything we do, our work in law, policy, and public interest advocacy will be steered by a steadfast commitment to ethics, social justice, and quality of life in digital societies.
DLI Industry Affiliates Program
The Digital Life Initiative’s scholarship and influence thrives from strong engagement with industry partners, and we are, therefore, excited to launch a new Industry Affiliates Program. Leaders from industry, academia, nonprofit and government look to DLI for guidance on issues ranging from privacy and cybersecurity to AI ethics. We invite organizations from any field to join us as DLI Affiliates, supporting our mission to shape the future of digital societies by caring about its deep impacts on ethical and political values and the quality of life. Affiliation with DLI signals: (i) Commitment to ethics, (ii) Connection with leading experts, and (iii) Centrality of research.
Dear Facebook, This is How You're Breaking Democracy
In her newly released Ted Talk, DLI Visiting Fellow Yaël Eisenstat explores how social media companies like Facebook incentivize inflammatory content, contributing to a culture of political polarization and mistrust. "As long as [social media] algorithms' goals are to keep us engaged, they will feed us the poison that plays to our worst instincts and human weaknesses"
AI and Discrimination
Chine Labbé, host and producer of DLI’s Good Code podcast, was interviewed by the Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company about artificial intelligence and the potential risks for widespread discrimination. Although the introduction is in Swedish, Chine’s discussion points throughout are captured in English.
Additional Steps Platforms Can Take to Protect the Vote
Yaël Eisenstat, DLI Visiting Fellow, and Daniel Kreiss, Principal Researcher, UNC Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life have produced a collaborative position paper that asserts how social media platforms can, and should, go further to protect the 2020 US presidential election. "On July 30th, a small working group of experts on misinformation, platforms, and voting met to analyze platform policies and enforcement of electoral misinformation. The goal was to provide realistic and effective recommendations for additional steps the platforms can take now to combat misinformation about voting."
How The New York Times Thinks About Your Privacy
In Robin Berjon's recent article How The New York Times Thinks About Your Privacy, he articulates how the Newspaper is fostering improved standards, and references the impact of DLI Director Helen Nissenbaum's theory of privacy as contextual integrity.
Facebook is Ripe For Manipulation and Viral Misinformation
DLI Visiting Fellow Yaël Eisenstat is interviewed by The Guardian's Ian Tucker on concerns surrounding Facebook's role in the forthcoming US election. "[...] I find Mark Zuckerberg’s reaction to different politicians to be very telling. I don’t want to imply that he is purposely trying to get Donald Trump re-elected. But it is in his best interests to have this administration stay in power rather than to have a new administration that will regulate or break up his company. The fact that one individual has the power to tip the scales is a danger."
What is it about location?
The Berkley Technology Law Journal has published illuminating research conducted by DLI Director Helen Nissenbaum and Kirsten Martin’s on the perceptions surrounding locational data: “This Article reports on a set of empirical studies that reveal how people think about location data, how these conceptions relate to expectations of privacy, and consequently, what this might mean for law, regulation, and technological design.”
How to Combat Online Voter Suppression
DLI Visiting Fellow Yaël Eisenstat has released a compelling article via TechStream about how to combat online voter suppression: "Amid a 2018 civil-rights audit of the company, Facebook came under pressure to consider a novel set of questions about its role in politics: What does voter suppression look like on social media? And, in the absence of U.S. legislation on the subject, should the company set the rules to ensure that voter suppression does not occur, in any form and at any level, in the digital world?"
Study: Online trackers follow health site visitors
The Cornell Chronicle has released an article about the study completed by DLI's Ido Sivan-Sevilla and Helen Nissenbaum, along with Cornell Tech master's students Wenyi Chu and Xiaoyu Liang, to develop a contextual understanding of online tracking. "The study examined how the order in which users visit 15 major health, education and news sites affects the way third-party trackers follow them around the internet. Although the health sites may have fewer trackers than other types of sites, the researchers found, those trackers are more persistent in following page visitors."
Is Facebook like a chemical factory polluter?
DLI Visiting Fellow Yaël Eisenstat joined Roger McNamee on CNN Business to assess the implications of the U.S. President’s recent executive order, which aims at limiting the broad legal protections enjoyed by social media companies. As the former Global Head of Elections Integrity Operations at Facebook, Eisenstat also asserted that social media platforms should be held accountable for the amplification and curation of harmful information.
DLI Presents at PrivacyCon 2020
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 (Read submitted article here >). 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.
Section 230 Revisited: Web Freedom vs Accountability
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.'"
Privacy Versus Health Is a False Trade-Off
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?"
Section 230 Revisited: Web Freedom vs Accountability
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).
The Promise and Pitfalls of the California Consumer Privacy Act
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.
DLI Dispatch | Newsletter
We are very excited to welcome you to the DLI Dispatch, a monthly newsletter that keep’s you updated on the latest research developments, projects, and activities taking place within our Cornell Tech community! Click below to explore the latest issue:
July | Summer 2023
February | Spring 2023
October | Fall 2022
June | Summer 2022
April | Spring 2022
December | Fall 2021
September | Fall 2021
May + July Issue | Summer 2021
January + April Issue | Spring 2021
October Issue | Fall 2020
November + December Issue | Fall 2020
October Issue | Fall 2020
September Issue | Fall 2020