The Information Law Institute ITS Colloquium presents a talk by Mireille Hildebrandt, Associate Professor of Jurisprudence at Erasmus School of Law and Researcher, Centre for Law Science Technology and Society Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussels.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Vanderbilt Hall, Room 214
A Vision of Ambient Law
Abstract: Ambient Intelligence, proactive computing, behavioural advertizing, smart monitoring, and surveillance thrive on sophisticated profiling technologies. Profiling involves knowledge discovery in databases (KDD), allowing for a type of pattern recognition that is not possible by means of ‘ordinary’ human cognition. The profiles that result from the process of KDD are applied to individual persons or groups to anticipate their probable future behaviour. In the vision of Ambient Intelligence this should allow service providers to cater to consumers’ inferred preferences even before they become aware of them. In the sphere of security it allows security agencies, police and intelligence agencies to engage in proactive policing or sentencing. These smart technologies raise a number of questions, of which those relating to privacy and security are only the more obvious ones. Social sorting, subliminal influencing, and complications in the attribution of liability for harm caused challenge some of the foundations of the legal framework, requiring novel ways to think about the technological embodiment of legal instruments. I will argue that to sustain the system of checks and balances that stands for constitutional democracy, lawyers will have to re-articulate some the relevant legal protections into the socio-technical infrastructure they aim to protect against. Ambient Intelligence will require a vision of an Ambient Law. The vision of Ambient Law has been elaborated within the European Research Consortium on the Future of Identity in Information Society (FIDIS). It starts from the idea that our present legal system depends on the affordances of the technologies of the written and printed script. It then develops the idea that countervailing powers must be built into the novel technological infrastructure to complement the affordances of the written law. My presentation will also indicate how the vision of Ambient Law builds on and differs with Lawrence Lessig’s idea of Code as Law and Helen Nissenbaum’s notion of values in design.
For more information about this Colloquium and the Information Law Institute, please visit: http://www.law.nyu.edu/centers/ili/colloquia/fall2009/index.htm