Category: Conferences


Cyberbullying and the Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys

(This post is based on a talk I gave at the Seton Hall Legislative Journal’s symposium on Bullying and the Social Media Generation. Many thanks to Frank Pasquale, Marisa Hourdajian, and Michelle Newton for the invitation, and to Jane Yakowitz and Will Creeley for a great discussion!)


New Jersey enacted the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights (ABBR) in 2011, in part as a response to the tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi at Rutgers University. It is routinely lauded as the country’s broadest, most inclusive, and strongest anti-bullying law. That is not entirely a compliment. In this post, I make two core claims. First, the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights has several aspects that are problematic from a First Amendment perspective – in particular, the overbreadth of its definition of prohibited conduct, the enforcement discretion afforded school personnel, and the risk of impingement upon religious and political freedoms. I argue that the legislation departs from established precedent on disruptions of the educational environment by regulating horizontal relations between students rather than vertical relations between students and the school as an institution / environment. Second, I believe we should be cautious about statutory regimes that enable government actors to sanction speech based on content. I suggest that it is difficult to distinguish, on a principled basis, between bullying (which is bad) and social sanctions that enforce norms (which are good). Moreover, anti-bullying laws risk displacing effective informal measures that emerge from peer production. Read More


Ben Stein and the ABA’s Facepalm

The American Bar Association is kicking off its 2012 tech show with an address by… Ben Stein. Yes, who better to celebrate the march of technological progress and innovation than a leading defender of intelligent design? Who better to celebrate rigorous intellectual discourse than a man who misquotes Darwin and fakes speeches to college audiences?

This is a pretty embarrassing misstep. The ABA is irrelevant in the IP / tech world, and this facepalm is a nice microcosm of why. (Wait, what is the ABA relevant to? Now that’s a hard question.) We geeks don’t like it when you dis science. Thanks anyway, ABA – maybe you should stick to having your judicial recommendations ignored.

Hat tip: health law expert Margo Kaplan.

Update: I found the perfect keynote speaker for ABA’s 2013 TechShow: Marshall Hall!

Cross-posted at Info/Law.


The Intersection of Privacy and Security: Data Privacy Day Event at GW Law School

The National Cyber Security Alliance Presents:

Data Privacy Day 2012

The Intersection of Privacy & Security

Featuring: The Honorable Julie Brill
Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission

Data Privacy Day Logo

 Event Sponsored by:

Sponsor Logos

Thursday, January 26, 2012 | 9:00am – 11:45amGeorge Washington Law School – Moot Court Room
2000 H Street, NW • Washington, DC 20052


The convergence of privacy and security: how do we overcome the conflict that seems to be inherent between the two? Is it a philosophical impossibility or an aspiration to be achieved?

Data security, according to common definition is the “confidentiality, integrity and availability” of data. It is the practice of ensuring that the data being stored is safe from unauthorized access and use, ensuring that the data is reliable and accurate and that is available for use when it is needed. Privacy on the other hand, is the appropriate use of data.

Our panel will consider the implications of how privacy and security are two sides of the same coin and what companies can and should do to ensure privacy and security are protected while allowing innovation to flourish.


9:00 Registration
9:30 Welcome

  • Michael Kaiser
    Executive Director, National Cyber Security Alliance
  • Dan Solove
    John Marshall Harlan Research Professor of Law, The George Washington University School of Law
  • Paul Schiff Berman
    Dean and Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law, The George Washington University School of Law

9:40 Keynote

The Honorable Julie Brill
Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission

10:10 Panel Discussion

Reflections & Aspirations: The Past, The Present & The Future

Christopher Wolf
Founder & Co-Chair, Future of Privacy Forum and Partner, Hogan Lovells US LLP


  • David Hoffman
    Director of Security Policy and Global Privacy Officer, Intel
  • Gerard Lewis
    Vice President, Deputy General Counsel & Chief Privacy Officer, Comcast Cable
  • Ari Schwartz
    Senior Internet Policy Advisor, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce

10:50 Panel Discussion

Privacy & Security: Best Practices in Action

Christopher Wolf
Co-Chair & Founder, Future of Privacy Forum and Partner, Hogan Lovells US LLP


  • Rick Buck
    Head of Privacy GSI, eBay
  • Erin Egan
    Chief Privacy Officer, Policy, Facebook
  • JoAnn C. Stonier
    Global Privacy & Data Protection Officer, MasterCard Worldwide
  • Bob Quinn
    Senior Vice President-Federal Regulatory & Chief Privacy Officer, AT&T







Personal Information: The Benefits and Risks of De-Identification

On Monday, December 5th, I’ll be speaking at a Future of Privacy Forum conference entitled “Personal Information: The Benefits and Risks of De-Identification.”

I will be speaking about my forthcoming paper,The PII Problem: Privacy and a New Concept of Personally Identifiable Information, 86 New York University Law Review (forthcomng 2011) (with Paul M. Schwartz).  The paper should hopefully be out in print any day now.

The conference schedule and participants are great, and I think this should be a terrific event.  More information is here.

Below the fold is the schedule.

Read More

Conference Announcement: Rights Working Group

The conference “Securing Our Rights in the Information-Sharing Era” will be held in San Francisco early next month. From the announcement:

This year marks not only the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, but also 15 years since the passage of the “Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996” (IIRAIRA), the bill that established the 287(g) program which later set the stage for Secure Communities program . . . . The government has . . . invest[ed] in enforcement strategies that violate our civil liberties and human rights. As the government has expanded these tactics, it has also invested resources to build a massive, complicated information sharing system where law enforcement agencies are given new powers. Law enforcement can now search through emails, listen to phone calls, track purchases and collect files on people who may or may not be suspected of any crimes. Local law enforcement is enforcing federal immigration laws, engaging in racial profiling and funneling migrants into detention and deportation. These enforcement tactics employed across the country and at the borders in the name of national security and immigration enforcement are affecting the rights of everyone in the United States.

For those interested in an academic treatment of information-sharing, Citron and I wrote this piece last year.


CELS VI: Half a CELS is Statistically Better Than No CELS

Northwestern's Stained Glass Windows Made Me Wonder Whether Some Kind of Regression Was Being Proposed

As promised, I’m filing a report from the Sixth Annual Empirical Studies Conference, held 11/4-11/5 at Northwestern Law School.  Several of the attendees at the Conference approached me and remarked on my posts from CELS V, IV, and III. That added pressure, coupled with missing half of the conference due to an unavoidable conflict, has delayed this post substantially.  Apologies!  Next time, I promise to attend from the opening ceremonies until they burn the natural law figure in effigy.  Next year’s conference is at Stanford.  I’ll make a similar offer to the one I’ve made in the past: if the organizing committee pays my way, I promise not only to blog the whole thing, but to praise you unstintingly.  Here’s an example: I didn’t observe a single technical or organization snafu at Northwestern this year.  Kudos to the organizing committee: Bernie Black, Shari Diamond, and Emerson Tiller.

What I saw

I arrived Friday night in time for the poster session.  A few impressions.  Yun-chien Chang’s Tenancy in ‘Anticommons’? A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Co-Ownership won “best poster,” but I was drawn to David Lovis-McMahon & N.J. Schweitzer’s Substantive Justice: How the Substantive Law Shapes Perceived Fairness.  Overall, the trend toward professionalization in poster display continues unabated.  Even Ted Eisenberg’s poster was glossy & evidenced some post-production work — Ted’s posters at past sessions were, famously, not as civilized. Gone are the days where you could throw some powerpoint slides onto a board and talk about them over a glass of wine!  That said, I’m skeptical about poster sessions generally.  I would love to hear differently from folks who were there.

On Saturday, bright eyed and caffeinated, I went to a Juries panel, where I got to see three pretty cool papers.  The first, by Mercer/Kadous, was about how juries are likely to react to precise/imprecise legal standards.  (For a previous version, see here.) Though the work was nominally about auditing standards, it seemed generalizable to other kinds of legal rules.  The basic conclusion was that imprecise standards increase the likelihood of plaintiff verdicts, but only when the underlying conduct is conservative but deviates from industry norms.  By contrast, if the underlying conduct is aggressive, jurors return fewer pro-plaintiff verdicts.  Unlike most such projects, the authors permitted a large number of mock juries to deliberate, which added a degree of external validity.  Similarly worth reading was Lee/Waters’ work on jury verdict reporters (bottom line: reporters aren’t systematically pro-plaintiff, as the CW suggests, but they are awfully noise measures of what juries are actually doing).  Finally, Hans/Reyna presented some very interesting work on the “gist” model of jury decisionmaking.

At 11:00, I had to skip a great paper by Daniel Klerman whose title was worth the price of admission alone – the Selection of Thirteenth-Century Disputes for Litigation.  Instead, I went to Law and Psychology III.  There, Kenworthey Bilz presented Crime, Tort, Anger, and Insult, a paper which studies how attribution & perceptions of dignitary loss mark a psychological boundary between crime and tort cases.  Bilz presented several neat experiments in service of her thesis, among them a priming survey- – people primed to think about crimes complete the word “ins-” as “insult,” while people primed to think about torts complete it as “insurance.”  (I think I’ve got that right – – the paper isn’t available online, and I’m drawing on two week old memories.)

At noon, Andrew Gelman gave a fantastic presentation on the visualization of empirical data.  The bottom line: wordles are silly and convey no important information.  Actually, Andrew didn’t say that.  I just thought that coming in.  What Andrew said was something more like “can’t people who produce visually interesting graphs and people who produce graphs that convey information get along?”

Finally, I was the discussant at an Experimental Panel, responding to Brooks/Stremitzer/Tontrup’s Framing Contracts:Why Loss Framing Increases Effort.  Attendees witnessed my ill-fated attempt to reverse the order of my presentation on the fly, leading me to neglect the bread in the praise sandwich.  This was a good teaching moment about academic norms. My substantive reaction to Framing Contracts is that it was hard to know how much the paper connected to real-world contracting behavior, since the kinds of decision tasks that the experimental subjects were asked to perform were stripped of the relational & reciprocal norms that characterize actual deals.

CELS: What I missed

The entire first day!  One of my papers with the cultural cognition project, They Saw a Protest, apparently came off well.  Of course, there was also tons of great stuff not written from within the expanding cultural cognition empire.  Here’s a selection: on lawyer optimism; on public housing, enforcement and race; on probable cause and hindsight judging; and several papers on Iqbal, none of which appear to be online.

What did you see & like?



I’m off to CELS VI in Chicago tomorrow.  As with previous years, I’ll try to provide a recap post after the conference. Unfortunately, due to work obligations, I’m missing the entire first day.  So if you happen to be at the conference and see a nice presentation or interesting paper that deserves highlighting, please do so in the comment thread.


Aging Conference at Temple

On behalf of my colleague Nancy Knauer, I’m happy to announce that Temple Law School will host a one day symposium titled Aging in the US:  The Next Civil Rights Movement? In this Symposium, participants will explore elder law and aging policy from a civil rights perspective and begin the important task of rethinking equality across the lifespan.  Over twenty leading scholars and advocates will engage cutting edge public policy issues regarding health care, guardianships, caregiving, institutionalized elders, and the special needs of minority populations. Featured speakers include Nina Kohn from Syracuse Law School and 2011 MacArthur Fellow M.T. Connolly of Lifelong Justice, among many others.  The goal of the Symposium is to move the national conversation surrounding aging beyond the traditional elder law topics of estate planning, benefit eligibility, and health care financing and ask whether elder rights should be the next civil rights movement.  Papers will be published in a special issue of the Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review.

Information regarding the conference and registration is available at

National Association of Women Judges Conference

I just wanted to make this announcement about an extraordinary conference:

The National Association of Women Judges is hosting their annual international conference in Newark, New Jersey on October 12-16. On October 14th, there will be a symposium at Rutgers Law School entitled Promoting Global Equality for Women Through the Law and on the 15th Seton Hall Law School will host break-out sessions on various topics including domestic violence, urban revitalization, immigration, forensic evidence, cross-cultural issues in the courts and leadership training. Seton Hall Law student Megan Altman will be receiving the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg scholarship which will be presented at the NAWJ Gala Saturday night at the Newark Club with Justice Ginsburg delivering the keynote address.

More information here at the NAWJ website. According to an email I received, “There are more than 50 international judges registered for the conference from countries including Argentina, Canada, China, Gambia, Guam, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jordan, Korea, Lagos, Malawi, Moldova, Navajo Nation, Nepal, Philippines, Sarajevo, South Korea, Taiwan, Tanzania, and Uganda.”