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Daniel J. Solove    

Author of "Consumer Privacy and Data Protection", Leader on Privacy, Data Security, Technology, AI, & Distinguished Law Professor at George Washington University Law School

Daniel J. Solove is the Eugene L. and Barbara A. Bernard Professor of Intellectual Property and Technology Law at the George Washington University Law School. He is also President and CEO of TeachPrivacy, a company that provides privacy and data security training programs to businesses, schools, healthcare institutions, and other organizations.

One of the world’s leading experts in privacy law, Solove is the author of 10+ books and 100+ articles. He has also written a children’s fiction book about privacy. He is the #1 most cited law professor born after 1970 and the #1 most cited law professor in the law and technology field.

Professor Solove has been interviewed and quoted in hundreds of media articles and broadcasts. He has been a consultant for many Fortune 500 companies and celebrities. He has more than 1 million LinkedIn followers.

Speech Topics

Privacy in the 21st Century

We live in a world of Big Data and AI. Many say that it’s too late to protect privacy. The genie can’t be put back in the bottle. Privacy is dead.

In this talk, Professor Solove explains why privacy isn’t dead, but it is in danger. He discusses what privacy laws have attempted to do to protect our privacy and why they are failing. He explains how AI poses many significant privacy threats and how these threats can be addressed.

The Myth of the Privacy Paradox

The "privacy paradox" is the phenomenon where people say that they value privacy highly, yet in their behavior relinquish their personal data for very little in exchange or fail to use measures to protect their privacy. Commentators often argue that people’s behavior shows that despite what people say, they don’t really care about their privacy. They argue that privacy regulation should be reduced.

In this talk, Professor Solove argues instead that the privacy paradox is a myth created by faulty logic. The behavior involved in privacy paradox studies involves people making decisions about risk in very specific contexts. In contrast, people’s attitudes about their privacy concerns or how much they value privacy are much more general in nature. It is a leap in logic to generalize from people’s risk decisions involving specific personal data in specific contexts to reach broader conclusions about how people value privacy.

The behavior in the privacy paradox studies does not lead to a conclusion for less regulation. On the other hand, minimizing behavioral distortion will not cure people’s failure to protect their own privacy. Managing one’s privacy is a vast, complex, and never-ending project that does not scale. Privacy regulation often seeks to give people more privacy self-management, but doing so will not protect privacy effectively. Professor Solove argues instead that privacy law should focus on how companies collect and use personal data.

I’ve Got Nothing to Hide” and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy

"If you’ve got nothing to hide", many people say, "you shouldn’t worry about government surveillance". Others argue that we "must sacrifice privacy to make us more secure".

People make these arguments all the time in the debate between privacy and security. But as Professor Solove argues in this talk, these arguments and many others are flawed. They are based on mistaken views about what it means to protect privacy and the costs and benefits of doing so. The debate between privacy and security has been framed incorrectly as a zero-sum game in which we are forced to choose between one value and the other. Why can’t we have both?

Solove exposes the fallacies of many pro-security arguments that have skewed law and policy to favor security at the expense of privacy. Protecting privacy isn’t fatal to security measures; it merely involves adequate oversight and regulation. Solove traces the history of the privacy-security debate from the Revolution to present day. He explains how the law protects privacy and examines concerns with new technologies.

He then points out the failings of our current system and offers specific remedies. He makes a powerful and compelling argument for reaching a better balance between privacy and security and why doing so is essential to protect our freedom and democracy.

Artificial Intelligence and Privacy

What is artificial intelligence (AI)? What privacy issues does it raise? In this talk, Professor Solove will discuss AI privacy issues in an engaging and accessible way. He demystifies the term “artificial intelligence,” showing how modern AI isn’t really artificial or intelligent, and it is a far cry from the science fiction vision of thinking robots that might kill us all. Instead, modern AI involves the use of complex algorithms and massive amounts of data to make predictions.

Although these technologies have benefits, they can create many problems, especially for privacy. Enormous quantities of personal data are being gathered online and fed into AI systems to generate content or make decisions about people. In addition to the vast invasion of privacy from the data collection, AI decisions can be unfair and biased, and they can have terrible effects on people’s lives. AI can be used to engage in surveillance of people on an unprecedented scale; it can be used to impersonate people and trick people. Professor Solove explores these problems and more and explains how people should be protected.

Breached! Why Data Security Law Fails and How to Improve It

We’re living in a data breach epidemic. Despite the passage of many data security laws, data breaches are increasing at a record pace. In this provocative and accessible talk, Professor Solove argues that the law fails because, ironically, it focuses too much on the breach itself.

Drawing insights from many fascinating stories about data breaches, Solove show how major breaches could have been prevented or mitigated through better rules and often inexpensive, non-cumbersome means. He reveals why the current law is counterproductive. It pummels organizations that have suffered a breach but doesn’t recognize how others contribute to the breach. These outside actors include software companies that create vulnerable software, device companies that make insecure devices, government policymakers who write regulations that increase security risks, organizations that train people to engage in risky behaviors, and more.

Although humans are the weakest link for data security, the law remains oblivious to the fact that policies and technologies are often designed with a poor understanding of human behavior. Solove sets forth a holistic vision for data security law—one that holds all actors accountable, understands security broadly and in relationship to privacy, looks to prevention and mitigation rather than reaction, and is designed with people in mind.

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