Keynote speakers

Prof. Tal Zarsky

Prof. Tal Zarsky is the Vice Dean of the University of Haifa's Faculty of Law. His research focuses on Information Privacy, Cyber-Security, Internet Policy, Social Networks, Telecommunications Law, Online Commerce, Reputation and Trust. He published numerous articles and book chapters in the U.S., Europe and Israel. His work is often cited in a variety of contexts related to law in the digital age. Among others, he participated in the Data Mining without Discrimination project, funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) as well as other national and international research projects. He has advised various Israeli regulators, legislators and commercial entities on related matters. He served on a variety of advisory boards and is a frequent evaluator of articles and research grants for various international foundations. Prof. Zarsky was a Fellow at the Information Society Project, at Yale Law School and a Global Hauser Fellow, at NYU Law School. He completed his doctorate dissertation, which focused on Data Mining in the Internet Society, at Columbia University School of Law. He earned a joint B.A. degree (law and psychology) at the Hebrew University with high honors and his master degree (in law) from Columbia University.


Abstract "Fairness, Resistance and the Law in the Age of Big Data"

The age of big data sets forth several analytical challenges. Given the shift to greater automation and opaque processes, both the analyzing entities and those subjected to the analysis are changing their strategies and behaviors. The law must quickly adapt and provide responses, and at times guidance. This talk will focus on two emerging issues – one related to the regulation of the analyzing entities and the extent of their ability to discriminate among individuals – and the other to those subjected to the analysis and their ability to actively resist and game the analytic process. First, the analyzing entities are now applying novel ways to distinguish among individuals, while generating new and not-so-new groups of winners and losers. Intuitively, the notion of “discrimination” comes to mind. However, applying this powerful concept to these practices requires theoretical guidance which this talk will briefly introduce. It will present the adaptation process discrimination theory and policy must go through at this time, while focusing on the required changes to the concepts of “intent”, “protected group” and “disparate impact”. Next, it is important to recognize that those subjected to the analysis will not necessarily passively accept its rulings. In many cases such individuals will strive to resists, and alter their behavior to game the system and achieve better outcomes. Their ability to do so depends on a variety of factors, including policy and legal settings. Thus, the existence and extent of the game-ability of these big data models must be recognized as a policy decision, as opposed to a mere fact. The talk will explain how law is linked to game-ability, examine the positive and negative aspects of gaming, and present the actual policy implications of this important discussion.


Dr. S. Shyam Sundar

S. Shyam Sundar (PhD, Stanford University) is distinguished professor of communications and the founding director of Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State University, USA (biography). Supported by the US National Science Foundation, Dr. Sundar conducts experiments on the social psychological effects of a variety of digital media, ranging from websites and social media to mobile phones, robotics and internet of things. A frequently cited source on technology, Sundar has testified before Congress as an expert witness and delivered talks at several universities around the world. He is editor of the first-ever Handbook on the Psychology of Communication Technology (Wiley; 2015) and currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.



Abstract "Human Agency in Cyberspace: The Promise and Peril of Interactive Media"

Interactive media provide ample opportunities for people to become sources of mass communication, and thereby assert their agency, both individually and collectively. This can lead to greater engagement, empowerment and mobilisation. However, it can also heighten the psychological need for external validation, often readily provided by audience metrics of digital media, resulting in a tendency to produce and disseminate 'fake news.’ This talk will discuss both positive and negative consequences of providing more user agency in cyberspace via interactive media.