Episode #31 – Hartzog on Robocops and Automated Law Enforcement

vIVsVj9G.jpeg In this episode I am joined by Woodrow Hartzog. Woodrow is currently a Professor at Northeastern University School of Law (he was the Starnes Professor at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law when this episode was recorded). His research focuses on privacy, human-computer interaction, online communication, and electronic agreements. He holds a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an LL.M. in intellectual property from the George Washington University Law School, and a J.D. from Samford University. He previously worked as an attorney in private practice and as a trademark attorney for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He also served as a clerk for the Electronic Privacy Information Center. We talk about the rise of automated law enforcement and the virtue of an inefficient legal system.

You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or Stitcher (RSS feed is here).

Show Notes

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 2:00 – What is automated law enforcement? The 3 Steps
  • 6:30 – What about the robocops?
  • 10:00 – The importance of hidden forms of automated law enforcement
  • 12:55 – What areas of law enforcement are ripe for automation?
  • 17:53 – The ethics of automated prevention vs automated punishment
  • 23: 10 – The three reasons for automated law enforcement
  • 26:00 – The privacy costs of automated law enforcement
  • 32:13 – The virtue of discretion and inefficiency in the application of law
  • 40:10 – An empirical study of automated law enforcement
  • 44:35 – The conservation of inefficiency principle
  • 48:40 – The practicality of conserving inefficiency
  • 51:20 – Should we keep a human in the loop?
  • 55:10 – The rules vs standards debate in automated law enforcement
  • 58:36 – Can we engineer inefficiency into automated systems
  • 1:01:10 – When is automation desirable in law?


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