Advancing Robot Lawyers: Towards Automated License Generation and Interoperable Protected Research Data

Slides Available Here

Abstract: Much of science now requires integrating information that are collected at different times, in different places, in different contexts, and, crucially, protected by different laws. For intellectual property protections, standardized open licenses such as the Creative Commons provide legal interoperability: Third parties may use information protected by these licenses without seeking case-by-case authorization from rights holders, integrate it across different sources, and share derivatives under terms that can be determined automatically. In contrast, there is currently no approach that achieves interoperability for information under confidentiality protection. In this talk we present work-in-progress on an expert system support to automate data deposit and release decisions within a repository, and generate custom license agreements for those data transfers -- using an approach that enables appropriate decisions and accurate licenses, while removing the bottleneck of lawyer effort per data transfer. We then describe the formal analysis underlying this approach, and how it might be extended to achieve interoperability for research data use across multiple protection regimes.  

Bio: Micah Altman is Director of Research and Head/Scientist, Program on Information Science for the MIT Libraries, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Previously Dr. Altman served as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution, and at Harvard University as the Associate Director of the Harvard-MIT Data Center, Archival Director of the Henry A. Murray Archive, and Senior Research Scientist in the Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences. Dr Altman conducts work primarily in the fields of social science, information privacy, information science and research methods, and statistical computation -- focusing on the intersections of information, technology, privacy, and politics; and on the dissemination, preservation, reliability and governance of scientific knowledge.