Menu

Databite No. 81: Karen Sandler

thoughts from a cyborg lawyer


June 2, 2016 - 12:00 pm

Data & Society
36 West 20th Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY, 10011

Databites are Data & Society's weekly lunch conversations focused on unresolved questions and timely topics of interest to our community.

RSVP required. To request an invitation, please email events at data society dot net.

You can livestream the talk starting at 12:15pm on June 2.

Karen Sandler presents Freedom in My Heart: Thoughts from a Cyborg Lawyer:

When Karen discovered she had a life threatening heart condition, the last thing she expected was to have to worry about software. Now, with a heart device implanted in her body, she has come to understand not only how vulnerable medical devices are but how we are making critical choices about software that will have huge societal impacts. Karen will talk about the hacks which show how essential free and open source software is and will discuss her professional and personal view of the issues both as a patient and as a cyborg lawyer.

Karen will also touch on potential avenues for accountability, transparency, and access to remedies as we hurtle towards an Internet of Things built on proprietary source code that prevents us from knowing exactly how these vital devices work, what data they are collecting and to what ends, what their vulnerabilities might be, and the extent to which their closed, proprietary nature keeps us from developing societal mechanisms and review processes to keep us safe.

She will also touch on a few ways that she has found to advocate for more openness (including her fight to get permission to do research on some of these devices) in the current legal and regulatory environment, as well possible fruitful pathways for pushing for mechanisms of review and oversight of these devices that are increasingly embedded into our lives and will serve critical and essential societal functions.

Karen M. Sandler is the executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy. Karen is known for her advocacy for free software, particularly in relation to the software on medical devices. Prior to joining Conservancy, she was executive director of the GNOME Foundation, where she has since been elected to the board of directors. Before that, she was general counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center. Karen co-organizes Outreachy, the award-winning outreach program for women, and is an advisor to the Ada Initiative. She is also pro bono counsel to the FSF and GNOME and pro bono general counsel to QuestionCopyright.Org. Karen is a recipient of the O’Reilly Open Source Award and cohost of the oggcast Free as in Freedom.