digitalculturesnews Mellon Sawyer Seminar on Surveillance Democracies Presents Paul Schwartz (Berkeley) and Gabriella Coleman (McGill)


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Comparative Contractual Privacy Law: the U.S. and EU

Paul Schwartz | Jefferson E. Peyser Professor of Law

Berkeley Law School

Location: UC Davis School of Law, King Hall Rm 1301

Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Abstract: The law in the United States has long approved of and relied on individual authorization, explicit or implicit, as a legal basis for agreement. In contrast, the European Union has sought to limit the unbridled use of consent and contract. Building on this tradition, it has demonstrated profound skepticism towards contract in its data protection law. Whether within the European Union level or in the Member States, EU law is deeply concerned about power imbalances between data processors and individuals. It places certain kinds of data use beyond contract and resists reducing grounds for the legitimacy of data processing to notice-and-choice.

In its information privacy law, the U.S. has not heavily drawn on contract, but a contract-like process. Through the efforts of the Federal Trade Commission and federal and state law, U.S. law has developed an obligation that data processors make privacy and security promises in writing. Then the FTC and state Attorney Generals hold these statements binding and police deviations from their terms. The result is not contractual, but “contract-lite.” This approach mimics certain aspects of common law contract, but rests on the FTC’s Section 5 power and state mini-FTC Acts. As a consequence, it is subject to all the limits on that power. The result also falls short of the strict EU rules around contracting for personal data.

This lecture explores the differing views in the U.S. and EU towards the use of contract law and consent in consumer-oriented contracts and evaluates recent developments for their likely impact on future convergence and divergence in the respective comparative contractual privacy law of the U.S. and EU.

Paul Schwartz is Jefferson E. Peyser Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology. He is a leading international expert on information privacy and information law. His scholarship focuses on how the law has sought to regulate and shape information technology – as well as the impact of information technology on law and democracy. Schwartz has testified before Congress and served as an advisor to the Commission of the European Union and other international organizations. He assists numerous corporations and law firms with regulatory, policy, and governance issues relating to information privacy. He is a frequent speaker at technology conferences and corporate events in the United States and abroad. Schwartz is a graduate of Brown University (B.A. 1981) and Yale University (J.D. 1985).


Wednesday, March 9. 2016

Weapons of the Geek
Gabriella Coleman | Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy

McGill University

Location: UC Davis School of Law, King Hall Rm 1303

Time: 12:15 PM – 1:30 PM

Abstract: While often misrepresented in popular culture as the practice of a deviant subculture, hacking has long contained small elements of protest, policy intervention, and political organization. In the past five years, these narrow engagements have swelled: politically-motivated hacking has dramatically proliferated. This talk considers the following questions: Why and how have hackers managed to preserve demographically unusual pockets of political autonomy, even as they find it easier to secure economically and socially rewarding positions? What historical, cultural, and sociological conditions have facilitated their passage into the political arena, especially in such large numbers?

Gabriella (Biella) Coleman holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, she researches, writes, and teaches on computer hackers and digital activism. Her first book on Free Software, Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking has been published with Princeton University Press. Her new book, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous, published by Verso, has been named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014.

This event is co-sponsored by UC Davis Mellon Research Initiative in Digital Cultures.


Please visit our website http://Surveilled.US for more information about upcoming our speakers and event updates.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Great Exploitations: Data Mining, Technological Determinism and the NSA

Matthew L. Jones | James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization

Columbia University

Location: UC Davis School of Law, King Hall Rm 1301

Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Angry Eyes: the God-Trick and Geographies of Militarized Vision

Derek Gregory | Peter Wall Distinguished Professor

University of British Columbia in Vancouver

Location: UC Davis School of Law, King Hall Rm 1301

Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Paper-thin Safeguards and Surveillance in India

Chinmayi Arun | Research Director, Centre for Communication Governance

National Law University, Delhi

Location: UC Davis School of Law, King Hall Rm 1301

Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

American Spies: Modern Surveillance Under U.S. Law

Jennifer Granick | Director of Civil Liberties

Stanford Center for Internet & Society

Location: UC Davis School of Law, King Hall Rm 1301

Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

You Are a Hedge Fund

Kim Stanley Robinson | American Writer, Author of the Mars Trilogy

Location: UC Davis School of Law, King Hall Rm 1301

Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

All best,


Uyen P. Le

Mellon Sawyer Postdoctoral Fellow, Seminar on Surveillance Democracies

University of California, Davis School of Law