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Events of interest to the Cyber Initiative community

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Cyber Initiative and Related events:


Cyber Initiative fellow and Stanford Adjunct Professor Alex Stamos is on the Risky Business cybersecurity podcast this week, to discuss security news and the Snowden disclosures five years on. Listen here:

Remedies for Robots - Mark Lemley & Bryan Casey. Nov 28th, 12:45pm - 2:00pm, Law School Crown Building Room 280A
What happens when artificially intelligent robots misbehave? The question is not just hypothetical. As robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) systems increasingly integrate into our society, they will do bad things. They have already killed people. These new technologies present a number of interesting substantive law questions, from predictability, to transparency, to liability for high stakes decision making in complex computational systems. Our focus here is different. We seek to explore what remedies the law can and should provide once a robot has caused harm. Join us for a talk with Professor Mark Lemley and Legal Fellow Bryan Casey about their new article, hosted by SAILS and co-sponsored by SPICE and LST. Lunch will be provided.
Sharding with OmniLedger and Near - Nov. 28th, 4:30 - 6:00 PM, Gates 104
One of the many approaches to address the issue of scalability within blockchain is to look at sharding.  Sharding is ultimately about breaking a large problem like blockchain into manageable units and hopefully, the efficiency gained by having smaller units working in tandem will help bring about greater scalability.  However, not surprisingly, the complexity lies in the detail, including how do handle cross-shard protocol where latency will be an issue. These two technical presentations will propose their different approaches toward applying sharding toward greater scalability. 
Designing a secure permissionless distributed ledger (blockchain) that performs on par with centralized payment processors, such as Visa, is a challenging task. Most existing distributed ledgers are unable to scale-out, i.e., to grow their total processing capacity with the number of validators; and those that do, compromise security or decentralization. We present OmniLedger, a novel scale-out distributed ledger that preserves long- term security under permissionless operation. It ensures security and correctness by using a bias-resistant public-randomness protocol for choosing large, statistically representative shards that process transactions, and by introducing an efficient cross- shard commit protocol that atomically handles transactions affecting multiple shards.
Near Protocol, which shards both the state of the network and the processing of the transactions, scales capacity linearly with the number of nodes and provides a future-proof platform for decentralized applications.  Alex Skidanov  will walk the audience through how sharding is done in a commercial database space, and what's the missing ingredient in scaling blockchain today:
1. Approaches to atomic cross-shard transactions in the sharded blockchains.
2. Comparison of the approaches to scalability, level 2 vs sharding.
3. How will smart contracts be written, and executed behind the scenes, once the state of the smart contracts is sharded.

DATA AND CITIZENSHIP: Critical Questions and Research Perspectives from the Margins - 11/28, 12:00-1:30pm, Crown Law Building room 320D
Please join the Digital Civil Society Lab for a lecture and discussion of citizenship, surveillance, and data governance. Dr. Veronica Barassi and Dr. Lina Dencik will present their recent research and DCSL Postdoctoral Fellow Jonathan Pace will moderate a discussion of the work. 
Abstract: As more and more social activity and human behavior is being turned into data points that can be tracked, collected and analyzed, we need to ask critical questions about the everyday surveillance of citizens’ lives and the emergence of new forms of data governance. This talk argues that in order to address these questions we need to consider how ‘digital citizenship’ is being transformed by our data cultures. To date the concept of ‘digital citizenship’ has been used by very different scholarly traditions to describe how digital technologies have enabled individuals to participate in society (Mossberger et al. 2007) and to perform one’s own citizenship by enacting specific rights online (Isin and Ruppert, 2015). Yet in the last few years, it has become evident that we are not only digital citizens because our digital practices enable us to enact and perform our public persona online but we are also datafied citizens because our data traces talk for and about us (Hintz et al, 2016, 2018; Barassi, 2016, 2017b).
This talk will present two projects that are both concerned with the advent of ‘datafied citizenship’ and its implications, particularly for those who have historically been at the margins of citizenship debates. Veronica Barassi will discuss her project CHILD | DATA | CITIZEN and Lina Dencik will discuss her project on DATA JUSTICE. By presenting these projects, we will argue that current debates on data governance and datafication are often technologically focused, abstract in analysis, or decontextualized in approach. In contrast to these approaches, we argue for the development of a research perspective that studies datafication – and the emergence of datafied citizens – by simultaneously taking into account technological and political economic structures on the one hand, and every day practices and beliefs on the other. We will show that such an approach serves to expand our notion of data politics - understood as the performative power of or in data (Ruppert et al. 2017) - and can enable us to uncover key and context-specific questions about the multiple ways in which citizens are reconfigured within new data constellations and how, they in turn, engage with such configurations. 

Grincon - January 28th, 2019, San Mateo. Have you been following Mimblewimble/Grin? If not, the blockchain that uniquely addresses scalability and privacy is launching on Jan 15, 2019. Developers have been heavily involved in building Grin. Grin's open-source project has been 100% community-driven and funded: there's no ICO, no pre-mine, and no founder's reward. The first U.S. Grin Conference on Jan 28, 2019 will be at Hero City in San Mateo. At this conference, you’ll witness Grin’s growing ecosystem. You’ll meet the developers and cryptographers behind the project. You’ll also get first glimpses of what entrepreneurs are building on Grin. Come meet the developers, cryptographers and people behind the Grin project! Speakers include: Andrew Poelstra, Alyse Killeen, Benedikt Bünz, Chris Shepherd, Arianna Simpson, Lily Liu, Daniel Lehnberg, Ignotus Peverell, Ivy Evans, John Tromp, Michael Cordner, Quentin Le Sceller, Taariq Lewis and others. Meet investors that will fund your Grin idea or company.

2019-20 Stanford PACS Postdoctoral Fellowships - Applications have just opened for 1-2 year postdoctoral opportunities with the Project on Democracy and the Internet or with the Digital Civil Society Lab. For both of these fellowships, we encourage applications from candidates representing a broad range of disciplines including the social sciences, humanities, law, computer science and engineering. The deadline to apply is January 11, 2019. More information about each fellowship and the application requirements can be found below:
·        Project on Democracy and the Internet Postdoctoral Fellowship
·        Digital Civil Society Lab Postdoctoral Fellowship

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