Elsewhere Online twitter Facebook SLS Blogs YouTube SLS Channel Linked In SLSNavigator SLS on Flickr

CIS Speaker Series: Professor Christopher Slobogin


April 16, 2007 1:00pm - 2:00pm


The Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society (CIS) and the Stanford Law and Technology Association (SLATA) presents "Datamining by the Government" with Profesor Christopher Slobogin.

The government's ability to obtain and analyze recorded information about its citizens through the process known as data mining has expanded enormously over the past decade. Since at least the mid-1990s, the quantity of the world's recorded data has doubled every year. At the same time, the computing power necessary to store, access and analyze these data has increased geometrically, at increasingly cheaper cost. Governments that want to know about their subjects would be foolish not to take advantage of this situation, and federal and state bodies in this country have done so with alacrity. Most academic commentators have called for the abolition of data mining or advocated limitations that are so substantial they would have the same effect. In my view, these commentators exaggerate the dangers of data mining and misperceive its importance as a law enforcement tool; more fundamentally, they take a blunderbuss approach to a highly nuanced problem. A careful look at data mining suggests that many versions of it should not be subject to regulation or only minimally so, while other sorts of data mining ought to be subject to significant constitutionally-based restrictions. In aid of this project, I describe a study that investigated lay views on data mining.


Christopher Slobogin, B.A., J.D., LL.M., occupies the Stephen C. O'Connell chair at the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law. He received his undergraduate degree at Princeton University, and his law degrees at the University of Virginia School of Law. He has taught at a number of law schools besides the Levin College of Law, including the University of Virginia, the University of Southern California, Hastings, and the University of Kiev, Ukraine, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He is visiting at Stanford Law School in 2006-07. He routinely participates in continuing education programs, and has received two teaching awards. He has authored or co-authored over 60 articles, books and chapters on mental health law, criminal procedure and evidence law. He recently published Minding Justice: Laws that Deprive People with Mental Disability of Life and Liberty, with Harvard University Press, and Proving the Unprovable: The Role of Law, Science and Speculation in Assessing Culpability and Dangerousness with Oxford University Press, and soon will publish Privacy at Risk: The New Government Surveillance and the Fourth Amendment, with University of Chicago Press. He has been particularly active in American Bar Association work, serving as Reporter for the ABA's Task Force on Law Enforcement and Technology and for the ABA's Task Force on the Insanity Defense, as well as chair of the Florida Assessment Team for the ABA's Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project, and drafter of proposed ABA standards dealing with mental disability and the death penalty. He has appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, the Today Show, National Public Radio, and many other media outlets, and has been cited in over 1000 law review articles and close to 100 judicial opinions, including three Supreme Court decisions.