George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Ninth Annual Symposium on the Law & Economics of Privacy & Data Security

The Program on Economics & Privacy held its Ninth Annual Symposium on the Law & Economics of Privacy & Data Security in-person at the Antonin Scalia Law School on June 10, 2021. The symposium included a fireside chat with FTC Commissioner, Noah Phillips, and Jon Fasman, the U.S. Digital Editor for The Economist, who discussed his new book We See It All: Liberty and Justice in the Age of Perpetual Surveillance. The Symposium featured panels on surveillance capitalism, the interplay between privacy and competition, and the future of online advertising.

Questions? Contact Jonathan Lee at jlee109@gmu.edu or 703.993.8388.

Private Litigation Under the California Consumer Privacy Act

The report, titled “Private Litigation Under the California Consumer Privacy Act,” examines the private actions filed under the CCPA since its effective date.

Executive Summary
In June of 2018, the Governor of California signed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) into law. The law went into effect on January 1, 2020, and the Attorney General promulgated regulations to implement the CCPA in August 2020. Broadly, the CCPA is designed to protect consumer privacy by providing transparency into the personal data that businesses collect and share, and giving consumers the right to prevent companies from sharing their data with third parties. Although these core privacy provisions are enforced exclusively by the California Attorney General, the CCPA provides a private right of action when a business’s failure to implement “reasonable security practices and procedures” results in the theft of personal information.

Please click here to read the report.

The First Amendment, Section 230, and Content Moderation

VIRTUAL
Date: March 3, 2021 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Content moderation decisions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 election—including the removal of President Trump from Twitter and Facebook—have brought into sharp relief the power that social media platforms wield in shaping the national discourse. These social media platforms have come under increasing fire from both the left and the right and have been accused of unfairly censoring conservative viewpoints and failing to adequately curb misinformation and harmful content. Indeed, there seems to be a bipartisan consensus to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides companies broad protection from suits involving both the content third parties post on their platforms and “good faith” content moderation decisions. Further, many have pointed to lack of competition as the culprit, suggesting antitrust or other economic regulation as a remedy for perceived problems with platforms’ content moderation decisions. At the same time, any reform proposal will have to be squared with these platforms’ First Amendment rights.

Join us for a vibrant discussion of these issues with a panel of distinguished academics:

Jane Bambauer, Professor of Law, The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

Genevieve Lakier, Assistant Professor of Law, Herbert and Marjorie Fried Teaching Scholar, The University of Chicago Law School

Adam White, Assistant Professor and Executive Director, The C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

ModeratorJames C. Cooper, Professor of Law and Director, Program on Economics & Privacy, Law & Economics Center, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Please see below for the recording of this event or click here to watch!

 

Elementary School Teacher Use of EdTech

Listen in to a new episode of the Law & Economics Center’s The Marketplace of Ideas podcast to hear a panel discussion on the findings of a new report by James Cooper, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Program on Economics & Privacy at George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School.

The report, titled “Elementary School Teacher Use of EdTech,” sheds light on the frequency and types of edtech used in the classroom, as well as the relationship between privacy training, edtech guidelines or state student privacy laws with the willingness to use edtech.

Please click here to read a copy of James Cooper’s report.

Click here to read the Executive Summary of the report.

Visit masonlec.org/podcast to listen to the full podcast episode.

Call for Papers: Early-Stage Research Panel on the Law & Economics of Digital Information Policy

The Program on Economics & Privacy (PEP) at George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School invites applications for an Early-Stage Research Panel on the Law & Economics of Digital Information Policy.

The PEP is soliciting academics to present early stage research ideas on the law and economics of digital information policy during a program held in Naples, Florida from January 28-31, 2021. These panels are designed to provide constructive feedback to authors at the initial stage of a research project from a group of leading academics and practitioners from private practice, industry, and government.

TOPICS
PEP is interested in projects on privacy, data security, consumer protection, and telecommunications. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, those that consider specifically the application or intersection of economics with:

  • The relationship between data-driven advertising and competition.
  • The relationship between data-driven advertising and online content creation and quality.
  • Ad-supported online media and equity of access.
  • First Amendment issues related to privacy regulation.
  • Measuring harms from data breach.
  • Measuring subjective privacy harms.
  • Privacy harms and standing in federal courts after Spokeo.
  • The relationship between privacy and competition policy.
  • Consumer protection policy surrounding fake reviews and influencers.
  • Democracy and social media.
  • Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

    PEP will consider both economic research and legal research with an economic component.

SUBMISSIONS
Please submit an extended abstract of the initial stage research you would intend to present by November 20, 2020. Selections will be made by December 1, 2020.

LOGISTICS
Selected authors will be expected to take part as discussants in a research roundtable held in conjunction with this program, where several later-stage draft papers, on topics surrounding the law & economics of digital information policy, will be presented.

Selected authors will receive lodging for the three nights with arrival on January 28 and departure on January 31, 2021 in Naples, Florida, and a $1,000 honorarium (from which you will cover your own travel and incidental expenses).

PEP will host a welcome reception and dinner for selected early-stage research project presenters and paper authors on the night of January 28, 2021, and a closing reception and dinner on January 30, 2021. Guests will depart on January 31.

For any additional questions, please contact Amanda Olsavsky Hu (aolsavsk@gmu.edu). 

Teacher Training on Student Privacy and EdTech

The panel discussed teacher training on edtech use and student privacy and the findings from James Cooper’s report “Elementary School Teacher Use of EdTech.”

This co-sponsored webinar with the Future of Privacy Forum was held on Friday, October 2 from 12:00 – 1:00 PM EDT and featured:

James Cooper, Associate Professor of Law; Director, Program on Economics & Privacy, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Kerry Gallagher, Assistant Principal for Teaching & Learning, St. John’s Prep; Director of K-12 Education, ConnectSafely.org

Lorrie Owens, Chief Technology Officer, San Mateo County Office of Education

Amelia Vance, Director of Youth and Education Privacy, Future of Privacy Forum

Please click here to read a copy of James Cooper’s report, or here to view the online booklet.

Click here to read the Executive Summary of the report, and click here to watch a full recording of the event!

Eighth Annual Public Policy Symposium on the Law & Economics of Privacy and Data Security

The Program on Economics & Privacy will hold its Eighth Annual Public Policy Symposium on the Law & Economics of Privacy and Data Security virtually.

  • Wednesday, September 23 – Platforms and Antitrust (12:00 – 1:00 PM)
  • Wednesday, September 30 – New Research in the Economics of Privacy (12:00 – 1:00 PM)
  • Wednesday, October 7 – Platform Content Moderation (11:30 AM – 12:30 PM)
  • Wednesday, October 14 – Algorithmic Bias (12:00 – 1:15 PM)

Click here to access the program booklet.

A Conversation with FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips on Privacy, Remedies, and Rulemaking

On July 2nd, James Cooper, Director of the Law and Economic Center’s Program on Economics and Privacy interviewed FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips.

Listen in to the Law & Economics Center’s podcast series, The Marketplace of Ideas, to hear Cooper and Phillips discuss a range of issues currently facing the Federal Trade Commission, including the FTC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic to the intersection between privacy and antitrust.

Click here to watch the full video recording of the event. 

Webinar on Privacy, Antitrust, and Big Tech

Large tech platforms are in the crosshairs of antitrust enforcement. For example, both state and federal enforcers have announced investigations into Facebook and Google, and recently the FTC requested information from all of the major tech platforms on past acquisitions. What is more, the possibility that current antitrust laws may not be up to the task has led to several legislative proposals to reform relevant areas of the law.

Because most of these platforms collect information from consumers, it is not surprising to see data play an increasingly central role in antitrust analysis. The relationship between data and antitrust raises several important issues:

  • Does traditional antitrust analysis work in industries that use “big data”?
  • Do traditional antitrust tools work in zero-price markets?
  • Should privacy be a goal of antitrust?
  • To what extent do firms compete over privacy?
  • How does privacy regulation impact competition?

Join the Global Antitrust Institute (GAI) and the Program on Economics and Privacy (PEP) on Wednesday, July 22 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM for a discussion with leading experts on these topics and other topics related to the data/antitrust interface.

Featuring:

James C. Cooper, Director, Program on Economics & Privacy; Associate Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University; Former Deputy Director of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Consumer Protection, and Former Acting Director, Office of Policy Planning, FTC

Jamillia Ferris, Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Bruce Hoffman, Partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Former Director, Bureau of Competition, FTC

Michael Kades, Director for Markets and Competition Policy, Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Moderator: John M. Yun, Director of Economic Education, Global Antitrust Institute; Associate Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University.

Balancing Privacy and Public Health in the COVID-19 Era

Balancing Privacy and Public Health in the COVID-19 Era

The desire  to resume “normal life” has brought issues surrounding privacy into sharp relief. Most experts agree that some form of contact tracing will be necessary in order to safely reopen the economy in the absence of a vaccine.  Several countries have turned to some form of geolocation tracking from smart phones to identify interactions with potentially infected individuals. In the US, major tech companies have been working on bluetooth based solutions.  Widespread adoption of these tracking tools will be necessary to contain the spread of the coronavirus, but legitimate privacy concerns surrounding these solutions may discourage people from opting into such a system, causing doubts about their efficacy.

On Thursday, May 14 our panel of law and public health experts offered some guidance to policymakers working through these complex and pertinent issues.

Featuring:

Jane Bambauer, Professor of Law, The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

Woodrow Hartzog, Professor of Law and Computer Science, Northeastern University School of Law

Daniel Barth-Jones, Assistant Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health

ModeratorJames Cooper, Professor of Law, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School and Director, Program on Economics & Privacy

Click here to listen to the full recording of the event.