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June 26, 2024 Future SciTech Leaders

The ABA Science & Technology Law Section’s Inaugural Privacy and Emerging Technology Institute and Spring Meeting 2024

Angela Banks and Landon L. McKinney

The American Bar Association Science & Technology Law Section’s Privacy and Emerging Technology Institute and Spring Meeting brought together legal professionals and experts to explore the intersection of law and technology. Over the course of two days, attendees engaged in dynamic discussions covering a wide range of topics such as cybersecurity, AI in legal practice, data privacy, and emerging trends in legal technology. Through keynote speeches, panel discussions, and networking opportunities, participants gained valuable insights and practical strategies to navigate the evolving landscape of legal tech and enhance their practice in today’s digital age.

Inaugural Privacy and Emerging Technology Institute

The first annual Privacy & Emerging Technology Institute began and ended with a bang! Discussing all things privacy, the speakers brought various perspectives on how companies and organizations should be approaching data privacy within the legal field, with perspective on how the same data privacy concerns translate into the medical field. The panel discussion Healthcare Data in the Palm of Your Hand (And Many Other Hands) addressed the many data privacy challenges the medical field faces and how the lack of uniformity with data privacy laws seems to amplify them. Described as the Alphabet Soup of privacy, some state laws exclude employment and B2B related information, while some states exclude the entity along with the data. This discussion left us with two important questions: (1) Do you know the data you have? and (2) Do you know what the third party you’re working with is doing with the data? These questions will lead you to verify if the third parties you’re working with are treating your data with the same level of care as your organization and are in line with the applicable compliance obligations needed to entrust them with the information. Although, a data map may seem invasive, it will provide companies clarity on how their data is being handled, where their data is going, and what gaps may arrive in the process for a more proactive approach to privacy. As we’ve learned from this thought-provoking conference, “selective compliance doesn’t remove liability.”

During the Keynote Luncheon at the Privacy & Emerging Technology Institute, Jules Polonetsky, CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum, highlighted the escalating battle between regulators, fueled by conflicts in laws such as GDPR. He underscored the challenge of data privacy expanding into the realm of “everything,” signifying its pervasive impact across industries and sectors. Polonetsky compared the proposed American Privacy Rights Act with state laws akin to the complexities surrounding AI regulations. He also emphasized the Future Privacy Forum’s commitment to collaborating with state legislatures to foster cohesion and cooperation amidst the evolving landscape of data privacy legislation.

Inaugural SciTech Section Spring Meeting

On Thursday, the start of the SciTech Spring Meeting gave attendees the opportunity to attend the panel on Ethics of Artificial Intelligence: The Public Citizen in a Changing Technological and Ethical Environment, with Carolyn Lamm and Bob Keatinge, where panelists illuminated the transformative potential of generative AI (GenAI) in the legal profession. They underscored GenAI’s role in drafting court pleadings, identifying evidence, and conducting cite checks but cautioned against blind reliance, citing the risks highlighted in United States v. Cohen. The panel stressed the ethical responsibilities of lawyers to clients, counterparties, and society, emphasizing the need for supervisory guidelines to prevent unauthorized practice of law. They challenged law firms integrating AI into their practice to identify what guidelines they are following an what review procedures they are instituting. Shifting focus to cybersecurity, the discussion addressed the escalating threats of data breaches and incidents, propelled by regulations like the SEC Incident Disclosure Rule and consumer privacy laws enacted by 16 states. The advent of deepfakes raised concerns about defamation, revenge porn, and political manipulation, prompting considerations for robust regulatory measures such as the proposed American Privacy Rights Act. This legislation aims to establish national consumer data privacy rights and empower individuals to pursue legal action against major social media platforms, reflecting a growing imperative to balance technological innovation with ethical and legal safeguards.

What better way to close out our week than to discuss the complexities of Quantum Computing, its relation to AI, and the future ahead of us! Why Quantum? Well, as Nick Farina stated, “despite how sophisticated digital “classical” computing has become, there are many scientific and business problems for which we’ve barely scratched the surface,” and with our ever-evolving world of technology we are headed in Quantum’s direction. As complex as quantum computing may sound, its impact on AI was made clear. There are three key metrics for measuring quantum computing performance, (1) scale; (2) quality; and (3) speed, all of which would apply to AI in terms of better model training, pattern recognition, processing time and accuracy. Yet, bias still exist within AI, from the makeup of the algorithms to the data that feeds it, the capability is there yet adjustments still need to be made as we progress. Artificial Intelligence: Pulling No Punches panel provided an eye-opening statistic that Deep AI’s market value is estimated to reach ~$30.13 trillion by 2032! Only eight years away, that speaks volumes to just how much of an investment we are making in AI and how much of an impact it will have on society.

Key takeaways from the Spring Meeting were the need for uniformity in terms of privacy governance; the less compliance there is, the greater the liability; and the biases inherent in this technology can no longer be just called out but need to be addressed by emerging and future laws.

The Privacy and Emerging Technology Institute and Spring Meeting proved to be a pivotal gathering where legal professionals and technology enthusiasts converged to explore the ever-evolving realm of legal tech. The event not only provided a platform for in-depth discussions and knowledge sharing but also fostered meaningful connections among attendees. As participants departed, they carried with them newfound insights, strategies and a renewed enthusiasm for leveraging technology to drive innovation in the legal field. With its rich array of content and vibrant atmosphere, the summit undoubtedly left a lasting impact, inspiring attendees to embrace the opportunities presented by technology and adapt to the changing landscape of the legal profession.

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Angela Banks


Angela Banks is a rising 3L day student at the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law, where she serves as the Student Bar Association president. She is interested in the intersection of AI and cyber law and civil rights.

Landon L. McKinney


Landon L. McKinney is a Certified Privacy Professional for Europe (CIPP/E) and a JD candidate at Suffolk University Law School, where he is co-founder and president of Suffolk Law’s Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Law Association.