Tiffany C. Li Profile picture
Tech Law Scholar • Prof @BU_Law 🔜 @UNHLaw • Fellow @YaleISP • Columnist @MSNBC •
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21 Sep
AI emotion recognition does not work. Period.

The tech isn’t ready. The research isn’t there. Privacy and human rights are at risk.

More research is good, but Apple needs to give users freedom to opt in/out of emotion recognition, and more transparency and accountability.
Read 5 tweets
26 May
You do not need a STEM background to become a tech lawyer. But you do need to learn enough about tech to be able to competently represent your clients.

Here is an extremely short list of books I recommend for law students and lawyers who want to gain foundational tech knowledge:
1. "The Pattern On The Stone: The Simple Ideas That Make Computers Work" by W. Daniel Hillis

This book is a quick, accessible read. You'd be surprised how many tech lawyers do not know how computers actually work. Don't be one of them.…
2. "Artifical Unintelligence" by @merbroussard

Also a very accessible book! The book first introduces the basics of computing and AI/ML in plain English, before explaining the realities and limits of AI through real-life examples.…
Read 6 tweets
21 Mar
There are thousands of journalists and subject matter experts who are ready and willing to talk about anti-Asian violence and the Asian-American experience. Do better.
I get it; it’s hard to find people on a short timeline! A few tips:

1. Ask your colleagues and friends for recommendations.

2. Expand your networks in advance of the next big story.

3. Check out groups like @aaja who have resources and networks to help you diversify coverage.
I get that it’s hard to find sources on deadline, and often you end up with multiple outlets scrambling to book the same few voices. And sometimes you try your best, and you still end up with a #manel on gender. Plus, this is work that’s often unappreciated and uncompensated.
Read 4 tweets
27 Jan
I'm seeing a lot of ambivalence about $GME from internet researchers and advocates. It's fun to watch a bunch of Redditors take on predatory hedge funds by manipulating stock prices. But these are the same tactics used for harassment campaigns, disinfo influence ops, etc.
Personally, I find it hilarious. In a battle between Big Finance vs. The Internet, I know who I'm rooting for, always. Money is imaginary, the stock market is a simulation, the system is a simulacrum, etc.
But I'm also mindful that @wphillips49 and others have repeatedly found that internet users "doing it for the lulz" and ironic trolling can often lead to terrible real-world harms. That's the crux of the uncertainty you'll see from many internet researchers when asked about $GME.
Read 7 tweets
9 Sep 20
For "Intro to Data Privacy" this year, I wanted to show students a brief glimpse of the breadth of privacy perspectives in law. I offered a selection of readings and asked students to choose just one to read/skim and share insights with the class.

Here's the list of readings:
"'I’ve Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misconceptions of Privacy" by @DanielSolove…
Read 9 tweets
28 May 20
For no reason at all, here's a short thread of readings on Section 230, intermediary liability, and online speech:
"Who Do You Sue? State and Platform Hybrid Power Over Online Speech" by @daphnehk…
"The New Governors: The People, Rules, and Processes Governing Online Speech" by @Klonick…
Read 11 tweets
18 Mar 20
Some personal news: I have accepted a new position as content moderator for all my family and friends, as they send each other coronavirus misinformation and rumors.
Welcome new coworkers! Since this tweet is doing the numbers now, I'll thread a few links on how to spot misinformation and how to help people in your life get reliable news about COVID-19:
The SIFT method from @infodemicblog is simple and useful to share with others.

-Investigate the source.
-Find better coverage.
-Trace claims, quotes, and media to the original context.

ht @WillOremus…
Read 6 tweets
8 Feb 20
Thanks to all the participants of our @YaleLawSch @YaleLawGLC Cyber Norms workshop! Special thanks to my co-organizers, @LB_W_ @idokilovaty, & Jacqueline, and our hosts, @scottjshapiro & @oonahathaway.

(We solved cyber norms, if anyone is wondering.) PosterWorkshopOrganizers
We started off with an introduction by @oonahathaway and a panel on international cyber governance fora with @isitreallysafe @sawentworth @patrykpawlak @idokilovaty. Oona speakingPanelPanel
Next @elainekorzak @maartenvhb @sergedroz & Jacqueline Eggenschwiler on the role of CERTs and incident response teams in developing cyber norms PanelPanel
Read 8 tweets
22 Jan 19
Why solve climate change when we could just monetize it instead? 🤔…
Google on devastating, possibly world-ending climate change: “This opportunity driver could have a positive impact on our brands.”
Apple on climate change disasters: Threats of violence and infrastructure collapse will make people buy more iPhones!
Read 4 tweets
17 Jan 19
“The Summer Day” is one of Mary Oliver’s most famous poems, particularly the last line.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” Text of “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
Read 7 tweets
17 Jan 19
Beloved poet Mary Oliver has died. My deepest respects to someone who brought beauty and comfort to so many.

Mary Oliver often wrote deeply and thoughtfully about death, in the simple, naturalistic style she was well-known for.

Here’s one of my favorites: “When Death Comes”
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes like the measle-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
Read 7 tweets
17 Jan 19
This week’s @yaleisp talks by @t_streinz @AndBurt @hartzog are inspiring me to reconsider the connection b/t modern data privacy & traditional intellectual property. Certainly, not all privacy problems are IP problems, but the common threads are still theoretically important.
A few thoughts, in brief:
@t_streinz talked trade agreements, where we often negotiate both privacy & IP rights.
@AndBurt & Dan Geer mentioned a conceptual link b/t data protection & DRM.
@hartzog discussed "public" exceptions to (c) & patent protections.

Have been mulling this over for a while. You know a common (often tongue-in-cheek) refrain at IP conferences is that privacy doesn't really belong. I don't think that's true, but the question is: why does it matter if privacy is an intellectual property issue?
Read 6 tweets
4 Dec 18
I came across a mention of this think tank report in an old Joan Didion essay, and of course I had to find it immediately. The title alone is amazing, and there are some real gems in there.

“Cybernation: The Shadow Conquest” (1962)…
This 1962 report from the (now defunct) Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions includes many very familiar themes: automated workforce, AI, IoT, networked communications, supply chain dynamics, decline of the middle class, etc.…
“Cybernated systems perform with a precision and a rapidity unmatched in humans.” (By the way, should we bring back the term “cybernated” - Y/N?)
Read 11 tweets
16 Oct 18
Everything Sundar Pinchai says here is disappointing. It’s sad to see a formerly mission-driven company lose its moral compass. Goodbye freedom of information, hello censored search engines.… via @WIRED
Pinchai uses a very weak excuse to defend Project Drafonfly: “We are compelled by our mission [to] provide information to everyone, and [China is] 20 percent of the world's population.”

Here’s why we shouldn’t accept this from Google: ‪“We are compelled by our mission [to] provide information to everyone, and [China is] 20 percent of the world's population.”‬
First, many orgs have to balance cultural values w/int’l markets. This isn’t a new problem & certainly not a new problem for Google. “Balancing cultural values” doesn’t obligate compliance w/every restrictive regime. Google knows this, and it’s disingenuous to claim otherwise.
Read 8 tweets
4 Oct 18
Sharing a few highlights from my talk at Yale’s @TsaiCITY Blockchain Bootcamp.

Here’s what you need to know about blockchain law & policy in 2018:
Blockchain is not going to be a laissez-faire Wild West much longer. Regulation is coming. In some cases, it’s already here, esp. in the finance sector. If you’re a blockchain dev, ignoring legal trends is a risk.
Blockchain has an image problem. It’s not just Bitcoin & cryptocurrencies. And it’s not (all) just smoke & mirrors. As long as those misconceptions exist, policymakers will not create effective laws.
Read 7 tweets
6 Sep 18
Ready to listen to @lexlanham talk trademarks at the @YaleLawSch @yaleisp Ideas Lunch!
.@lexlanham’s new paper “Mark Talk” builds on her previous work on #Tagmarks and “Failure to Function” @yaleisp
.@lexlanham educating @YaleLawSch students and @yaleisp community members on “distinctiveness” in trademark law.
Read 4 tweets
28 Aug 18
Here is my syllabus for the very idiosyncratic privacy law class I’m teaching this fall at Yale.

“The Changing Right to Privacy” looks at privacy from diverse, interdisciplinary perspectives – inc. philosophy, ethics, history, policy, & critical theory.…
We start with privacy ethics and philosophy of identity, because I believe it’s important that we establish what privacy is and what privacy protects before we begin analyzing the law.
You can’t teach privacy law in America without assigning Warren and Brandeis. But understanding the historical development of privacy from a critical lens is important too.

(The Rosen piece is included as an overview of Richards’s excellent book.)
Read 10 tweets
10 Aug 18
Space Force is a bad idea. Outer space is the only realm where we were able to create international laws before any nation had a real stronghold over territory. The space laws that exist emphasize cooperation and scientific exploration, not war. Fund NASA instead.
Space law thread incoming in 3 … 2 … 1 …
There isn’t much space law, which is a good thing! Space is a relatively new frontier for international law. We do not have to regard the “territory” of space in the same way as we have historically dealt with land and sea. We can do better.
Read 15 tweets
9 Aug 18
If traffic congestion is the problem, FIX THE SUBWAYS.

If the yellow cab industry is dying, well, it’s not the city’s job to revive it. The taxi industry needs to take responsibility for their failures and deal w/the consequences.
Uber/Lyft/etc. are not perfect. But the industry grew so rapidly bc the companies filled a huge market need & did it well. Yellow cabs were unreliable, inconsistent, & inconvenient. You couldn’t get a cab to take you outside Manhattan. Some people couldn’t get cabs at all. 😒
Rideshare apps quickly took over. For drivers who had invested tens of thousands into buying medallions, this was devastating. The solution, though, is for the still-powerful taxi industry to (1) innovate to compete in the new market; and (2) take care of their own drivers.
Read 4 tweets
24 Jul 18
Some things I’ve learned from speaking at & participating in dozens of events on “the fake news problem” (disinformation, media manipulation, online speech & tech platform problems generally):
1) Everyone agrees that media literacy must be part of the solution. Very few have concrete ideas on how to implement and fund this in public education (or other venues). Rarely are educators involved in these discussions.
2) Many, esp. from traditionally trusted institutions, mourn the loss of faith in institutions - gov’t, media, etc. Few address the legitimate reasons why this change may have happened and what responsibilities institutions themselves have in earning back trust from the public.
Read 7 tweets
20 Jul 18
New study: "Humans Show Racial Bias Towards Robots of Different Colors"

I found this study illuminating, both on its merits & as a reflection of the scholarly discourse surrounding controversial tech topics like racial bias & robots/AI.…

Three takeaways:
1) Most robots are designed w/racially-coded White or Asian features. If this continues, ppl will never see robots "racialized" to appear like other races. This has big implications, as robots become prevalent. (Different but related: All AI voice assistants have female voices.)
2) When presented w/robots of different "skin colors," study participants appeared to display similar racial biases as people tend to have re: humans. On one hand, disappointing. On the other hand, perhaps this opens new opportunities for using robots to help decrease biases.
Read 4 tweets