A privacy officer, a professor, and a patent attorney walk into a room . . .(what happened at the LSI community board)

A privacy officer, a professor, and a patent attorney walk into a room . . .brain

Wait for it.

Oops, there’s no punch line.

There is a whole lot of brain power, collaboration, and excitement.

And trust me, you have not seen excitement until you see those listed above along with about thirty of their colleagues gather in one place to discuss fascinating topics.

Last week, I had the honor to attend the first Law, Science, and Innovation Center of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Community Board meeting. This is a school and a center to which my heart belongs. Along with professors of both the College of Law and ASU in general, there were alumni (some of my favorite people, such as May Mowzoon, a patent attorney), elite staff (such as Deb Pogson, the managing editor for Jurimetrics), and many community affiliates from small companies and large ones. In fact, I met a gentleman with whom I will soon be speaking on a panel with at the State Bar of Arizona’s 2015 convention – “The Perils of Connectivity – Privacy and Security on the Internet of Things.”

The format of the community board is geared to make the board more substantive rather than an operational board for the center. To this end, the center presented four topics and then we broke up into working sessions for each topic – we could each choose two working groups for thirty minutes each.

The two topics I was not able to make it to were:

Airspace in the Age of Drones by Prof. Troy Rule – which was not about military drones (unmanned aerial vehicles: UAVs), but more about personal use drones. The elements he brought into question were wonderful. He posed three issues:

  • Who should regulate these personal drones? The FAA? The airspace in which these drones are flown are not in the FAA-regulated airspace, but local agencies are reluctant to touch what may fall into the FAA area.
  • Where are the private property rights and where do they stop? What are the privacy rights? If someone is flying one of these drones with a GoPro camera strapped to it…do you have rights in the privacy of your backyard from 300 feet up?
  • What are the rights and limitations on law enforcement? A whole nest of topics arise here.

As the opening topics, loved the collegial competitiveness, he dared Prof. Hodge to follow that.

Public Health Law: HIV and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana by Prof. James Hodge. Okay. wow. Two controversial topics. There is a lot of information out there about the RFA, but not a whole lot about how it may impact huge public health concerns. A rural area in Indiana saw more than 100 diagnosed with HIV – unprecedented.

One way that has been proven to control the spread of HIV is a needle-exchange program, which has opponents. Most opponents do so on religious grounds. How do these two controversial topics play together? What are the impacts to public health? Fascinating intersection of two seemingly unrelated topics that may well have big repercussions.

Now, the two that I did participate in the working groups:

Biomarkers for Concussion Susceptibility and Effects by Prof. Betsy Grey. This topic was about concussions, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and biomarkers. The presence of traumatic brain injury seems prevalent in professional/college football, but football injuries account for a small percentage of events. Yet the news is sensational given recent actions by linebacker Chris Borland of the San Francisco 49ers and the University of Michigan offensive lineman Jack Miller.

The issues are numerous (and more details can be found here) – can biomarkers predict those vulnerable to CTE or are the biomarkers only slightly helpful and then only after repetitive injuries? Would there be an effect on waivers, disclosures, insurance, etc. if biomarkers were accurate? Is the root cause more to do with protection or false security in protection, such as helmets? Apparently, real football players and rugby players think we Americans are simply wimps. Yet, the over-reliance of inadequate protective gear can and does lead to worse injuries. The rules for rugby hits are much stricter than our football rules.

There is hope that a concussion could be diagnosed on the field with saliva.  Another route is to enhance the return-to-play laws in every state. Yet another route is to look at health professionals in/on/around the field, such as athletic trainers. As a former RN, this topic fascinated me. I have also done quite a bit of research into certified athletic trainers, so I know it is a growing field. As for biomaarkers…just because they are present, does not mean they are beneficial – is the company backing the research simply creating a false solution for a problem that is way beyond biomarkers?

Big Data by Prof. Gary Marchant. Now this is a topic that is popular pretty much everywhere and one that I live and breathe on a daily basis. To paraphrase one of my favorite poems:

     Data data everywhere, but no one stopped to think.
     Data data everywhere, and all the privacy rights did shrink.

Big data is the phenomenon with the massive accumulation of data on everyone. Prof. Marchant presented information from IBM that there are four characteristics of big data: volume, velocity, variety, and veracity. Love that synopsis. Many years ago, in law school, I started a paper on the impacts of location based services on cell phones. I never actually finished the paper (and have since apologized profusely to my professors, one of whom was Prof. Marchant). My research was at the very early stages and somehow, I should have known I would wind up in privacy. Technology simply fascinates me – and what technology means to data and further, to privacy simply gets my motor running.

Three aspects in his presentation really captured my attention: smart dust, life caching, and genetic surveillance. Here’s the issue I see – the technologies are built by people who develop technology: geeks. Then other people take this technology to use it to capture data in ways probably never imagined: business and marketing people. If it was imagined, many geeks don’t care about laws (sorry, married to a geek – am a privacy geek – it’s not an insult, just a state of being). The ability to capture data is sexy. The ways to use that data is sexy. The ways to match that data across machines and time is terrifying yet still sexy. Like a killer seductress. Data Succubi.

It was a great community board meeting. The attendees were enthralled by the idea of engaging in substantive work. It is a good move by the center to capture the interest of the community and alumni. I truly look forward to being more involved.

Go beyond Talking Heads: How to build a panel presentation that Pops

Wanh. Wanh. Wanh.fireworks

No matter how interested you are in a topic, talking heads start sounding like the teachers in the Charlie Brown cartoons. Sometimes, the panel can even put their audience to sleep.

Most people who speak at an event choose to do so – meaning that they have a message that they want to share. I am not a professional or fabulous speaker, but I do speak on occasion at the typical talking heads conference. And while you cannot please all of the people all of the time, there are some basic tips that can improve just about any panel presentation.

My ten top popping panel tips:

1. Create a diverse panel
Whether the diversity is in gender, sector, perspective, opinion, race, title, role – whatever – make the panel diverse. Give the audience someone to whom each one of them can relate.

2. Be creative, but keep it within limits
There are ways that even talking heads can present the same material, but creatively. I have participated in presentation based on the dating game, family feud, a political debate, and more. Recognize that not everyone in the audience will relate to creativity, but the overwhelming majority will like it.

3. Get organized before the presentation
Get on the phone. Speak to each other. Know who is going to change the slides. How will the chairs be organized? Determine if you want to sit behind a long table. Will you rise to speak at a podium? How will you handle too many questions and comments? How will you handle none?

4. Appoint a control person
Someone needs to be in charge of keeping the presentation moving. This should and could be done with ruthless charm. You can disclaim at the beginning how you will handle questions and comments. If time starts running short, the control person can keep it moving.

5. Do a true dry run
You may have everything planned out, but a true dry run – a real one – (cannot emphasize realism enough) should help ferret out problem areas, such as a long-winded speaker.

6. Speak to the slides, rather than read from them
There is not much worse than a presentation with paragraphs of material on each slide. Ugh. The audience will be reading them and not listening. You should have impactful slides that you can easily speak to. You can develop substantive material to submit for continuing education credit, and inform the audience that such material is available, just not what they will see in the panel presentation.

7. Stay on time and on point
Often, panelists have no say in the topic, title, or description of presentations. Yet the audience chooses that session based on those. Panelists should ensure that their presentation lives up to what is promised. I hate walking away from a presentation not having learned what was in the description. For the time, see #4 above on control person.

8. Interact with each other
Have a point person on each topic and interact. Whether in agreement or disagreement, the panelists should interact. Please do not separate the program into evenly divided topics and let one head bobble for ten minutes. Have fun. If you don’t, they won’t.

9. Have questions teed up
Seems basic. Is basic. Do it.
It’s pretty disheartening to save ten minutes for questions and there are none. You can announce at the beginning that although it is a safe environment, anyone who doesn’t want to raise his/her hand can submit questions electronically (in the manner of your choice). If you don’t address the questions during the session, you will at the end.

10. Engage the audience