Upcoming Events

Weaponizing Information

Information warfare is the use of information to delegitimize rivals and adversaries and/or to push a state’s agenda. The” Weaponizing Information” conference, co-hosted by the Center for Global Legal Challenges and the Information Society Project, will bring together legal, policy, political science, and military experts to discuss the history and future trajectory of information warfare in the internet age.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - 10:00am

ISP Ideas Lunch - Melissa Cohen

Expert? Testimony

Come hear Melissa Cohen,  staff attorney for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, discuss the role of expert evidence in reproductive justice litigation.  In recent years, states have come to rely on a cottage industry of anti-choice “experts” in defending restrictive laws and regulations. These experts testify about everything from mental health impacts to breast cancer risks to adolescent psychology, but their data are frequently misleading, intentionally misrepresented, or patently false. Parsing “expert” claims and debunking bad science have become crucial aspects of reproductive justice lawyering.  Melissa will discuss how to handle everything from expert reports and declarations to depositions and trial testimony in this environment. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Trademarks in Entertainment in Conflict - Payson R. Wolff Lecture

It is not uncommon for those producing entertainment content to utilize goods or other items that are trademarked.  Singles at a bar in a romantic comedy order a Budweiser.  A group of men in a movie are on their way to a baseball game, dressed in team regalia.  Someone in a reality program visits the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  These usages implicate conflicting rights: how are the rights of those engaged in free expression and the rights of trademark owners resolved?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - 12:00pm

FOIA Bootcamp 2017

FOIA Bootcamp

How to effectively obtain information through FOIA, including drafting requests and specific language to use, as well as working with agencies to avoid litigation.

Speakers: Michael Morisy, cofounder of Muckrock & Daniel J. Klau, Of Counsel at McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter. 


Michael Morisy, cofounder of Muckrock, manages the site's general operations. In 2014-2015, he was named a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. He was previously an editor at the Boston Globe, where he launched the paper's technology vertical BetaBoston. He contributed to the New York Daily News' Pulitzer Prize-winning series on the deadly health conditions of Ground Zero workers. For encrypted communications please email m@morisy.com and use his PGP key. He graduated in 2007 from Cornell University with a degree in English.

Daniel J. Klau's practice focuses on appellate and First Amendment (particularly media law) litigation.  He also litigates a broad variety of complex disputes involving commercial and private parties in federal and state trial courts. As an appellate advocate, he has represented clients in the United State Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeal for the First and Second Circuits, and the Connecticut Supreme and Appellate courts. His media practice includes representing newspapers and other publishing entities in defamation matters and cases seeking access to court proceedings and files.

Dan is also an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he teaches privacy law. He is frequently quoted on First Amendment and privacy issues, is the author of numerous articles and columns on appellate practice and First Amendment issues, and is a frequent lecturer on these topics. Dan is currently president of Connecticut Foundation for Open Government. He has received numerous awards for his work on behalf of government access and transparency, including the Society of Professional Journalists' Helen M. Loy Freedom of Information Award in 2009 (solo recipient) and 2015 (shared with five recipients), the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information's 2007 Stephen Collins Award and the Connecticut Bar Association's 2007 "Pro Bono" Award. He has been listed in Super Lawyers® (2007-2015), a Thomson Reuters business, in the areas Appellate and Business Litigation. A description of the standard or methodology on which the accolade is based can be found HERE. Dan is a James W. Cooper Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Hartford County Bar Association. Dan was the keynote speaker at the Freedom of Information Commission's 2009 Annual Conference. Dan regularly appears as counsel before the Freedom of Information Commission.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

ISP Ideas Lunch - Sabeel Rahman

Designing Democratic Accountability for an Algorithmic Age

The booming law and technology literature has documented the increasingly problematic ways in which automation, AI, and algorithms can construct and limit the scope of economic, political, and social experience for individuals and communities, often in the absence of formal mechanisms of consent or accountability.  These diagnoses necessarily raise the question of what democratic accountability looks like in context of these new forms of technology.  Drawing on the expansive literature in democratic theory and institutional design, this paper develops a preliminary "toolkit" of democratic accountability structures that might be adapted for the algorithmic age.  

To develop this toolkit, the paper approaches the problem of algorithmic power through three distinct, but overlapping, angles.  First, the paper frames the problem of algorithmic power not in terms of disparate outcomes or malfeasance, but rather in terms of domination, the risk of arbitrary, uncontestable decisions.  This domination-based theorization of algorithmic power points to particular principles for democratic accountability.  Second, the paper reorients our focus away from the model of bilateral consent, and instead draws on the metaphor of delegation: automated and algorithmic power is better conceptualized as a delegation of open-ended authority to a new system.  This move also highlights different mechanisms of accountability and oversight, which can be drawn from the underlying principles of public law institutional design, particularly in areas like administrative law.  Third, the paper employs the metaphor of infrastructure as a way of conceptualizing the importance and possible problems of algorithmic systems.  Here too the idea of infrastructure highlights distinctive principles and mechanisms for assuring democratic accountability.  


Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

FESC 5: Freedom of Expression Scholars Conference

Call for Abstracts and Participants: Freedom of Expression Scholars Conference

The Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression invites applications to participate in the fifth annual Freedom of Expression Scholars Conference (FESC). The conference will be held at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut from April 28 – 30, 2017. We ask all those interested in presenting a paper or commenting on a paper to respond by February 24, 2017.   

Friday, February 24, 2017 - 7:00pm to 11:45pm

ISP Ideas Lunch - Konstantinos Stylianou

Over the past few years there has been a spike in antitrust investigations in the ICT sector. The Google Shopping and Google Android cases opened by FTC and the European Commission stand out as the latest high profile examples, but many other firms including Microsoft, IBM, and  Intel, have been scrutinized by antitrust authorities. While the particular offense may have been different in every case, the common element was the necessity to identify what the anticompetitive conduct was. Showing of anticompetitive conduct is required because the mere possession or even exercise of market power is not enough to establish antitrust offense.

A look at antitrust case-law reveals that there is neither an exact definition of anticompetitive conduct (expected), nor sufficient guidance (disappointing). Courts and authorities resort to concepts of fairness, merit, or efficiency to define normal competition, which is acceptable, and distinguish it from abuse or wilful acquisition/maintenance of power, which is anticompetitive. But these formulations are too generic, in the sense that they describe general conduct non-specific to what is normal practice in the particular industry the firm under scrutiny does business in.

In this context the presentation has a dual goal: first, it aims to redefine “normal” competition by linking it to normal industry practice, i.e. what business models are common in the industry under question. This is a significant departure from the current doctrine which does not incorporate this parameter in the definition of normal competition, but only in the assessment of anticompetitive effects, and even then only anecdotally. However, it makes sense and is indeed necessary to consider how firms normally and habitually conduct themselves in the market before one attempts to single out behaviour that contravenes the usual operation of firms and threatens to upset the usual competitive conditions. For example in industries where free products and services is the norm, one cannot maintain the same standard for predatory pricing as in other industries where giving away free goods and services is the exception.

Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm