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 talks 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 also touches 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.
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.
Data & Society’s “Databites” speaker series presents timely conversations about the purpose and power of technology, bridging our interdisciplinary research with broader public conversations about the societal implications of data and automation.