Moritz’s Distinguished Lecture to tackle big data governance vs. constitutional rights
Jack Balkin

Jack Balkin

Moritz College of Law will host a Distinguished Lecture on Oct. 27 of one of today’s hottest topics not just in data analytics but in society: balancing the gathering and use of big data with individuals’ privacy concerns. The public event will feature two highly respected experts in the fields of data governance and constitutional law.

Industry and government use increasingly sophisticated—and often secret—technologies to create detailed profiles of private citizens, often without their knowledge. While personal data can be used to solve problems and create value, there are no guarantees the information will be used fairly, whether by algorithms or people.

Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School and founder/editor of the group blog Balkinization, will explore the creation of ground rules for a society in which decisions frequently rely on algorithms, and how government might set such rules yet be consistent with the First Amendment.

The title of his lecture, “The Three Laws of Robotics in the Age of Big Data,” refers to the Three Laws of Robotics devised by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov—that a robot may not injure a human or, through inaction, allow a human to come to harm; a robot must obey orders unless it violates the first law; and a robot must protect its own existence as long as doing so does not violate the first or second law.

“Big data is the fuel of the algorithmic society,” Balkin says. “Understanding companies as information fiduciaries helps us balance free speech and privacy in the age of big data.”

Commenting on Balkin’s lecture and engaging him in a conversation will be Frank Pasquale, professor at the University of Maryland School of Law. Pasquale is author of The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information (2015), in which he argues that stricter regulation is needed to prevent abuses by Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and other powerful interests that collect data in order to increase profit.

The Moritz College of Law 2016 Distinguished Lecture will be held Oct. 27 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Saxbe Auditorium in Drinko Hall (map). Following the lecture, the audience is invited to a reception with Balkin and Pasquale at the Barrister Club. Register

With generous support from the law firm of Sidley Austin LLP, the Moritz College of Law will offer this distinguished lecture annually.

This event is part of Data Analytics Month.

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