Law and Algorithms: A Cryptographic Lens

Date & Time: 23/01/2020, 4:00 pm
Venue: Faculty Hall, Indian Institute of Science

Computer Science has had a complex relationship with Law since its early days. On the one hand, the disciplines are similar in that they both have deep theoretical roots and at the same time are all-encompassing and very applied. On the other hand, one discipline is founded on mathematics, while the other is purely humanistic in nature. Traditionally, the main points of contact between the discipline were centered around intellectual property for algorithms (software and hardware), and regulating the use and sale of products that include encryption algorithms. Recently, however, many more meeting points have emerged, including (but certainly not limited to) regulating the use of statistical risk-assessment and prediction algorithms; Applying traditionally-humanistic concepts such as privacy, bias, transparency, or individuality, to algorithms; Adjudicating and balancing the protection, sharing, and confinement of data; Determining algorithmic intent, awareness, and liability in automated contracts. Furthermore, cryptographic thinking and tools such as computation over encrypted data, multiparty computation, and zero-knowledge proofs emerge as game-changers in various realistic legal scenarios. This talk is a personal account of the emerging landscape of “Law and Algorithms”, shaped by my interactions with Law scholars and fellow Computer Scientists in the past few years. Three classes co-taught to a mixed audience of CS and Law students, where we tried to build bridges between the disciplines, were particularly influential, and also provide starting points for exciting new research. The classes were co-taught with Daniela Caruso, Aloni Cohen, Stacey Dogan, Cynthia Dwork, Ahmed Ghappour, Shafi Goldwasser, Martha Minow, Frank Partnoy, Pat Williams.

Speaker Bio:
Ran Canetti is a professor of Computer Science and the director of the center for Reliable Information System and Cyber Security at Boston University. He is also a Fellow of the International Association for Cryptologic Research, an incumbent of the RSA Award in Mathematics 2018. Canetti graduated from the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1996, was a researcher at IBM Watson Research Center, and a professor of Computer Science at Tel Aviv University.

Canetti’s research interests span multiple aspects of cryptography and information security, with emphasis on the design, analysis and use of cryptographic protocols. Recently he has been interested in finding common ground for Law and Cryptography to collaborate towards enabling a better future for society.

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