„Contesting Algorithms“ by Niva Elkin-Koren

The Weizenbaum Institute and the Humboldt Law Clinic Interenetrecht are pleased to invite you the presentation „Contesting Algorithms“ by Niva Elkin-Koren, Senior Fellow at the Weizenbaum Institute. The presentation takes place at Weizenbaum Institut (Hardenbergstraße 32, Berlin), Room A 104-105 on 28 August 2019, 15.00 – 16.30.

The growing pressure on online platforms to expeditiously remove illegitimate content, is fostering the use of Artificial Intelligence to minimize their potential liability.

This is potentially game-changing for democracy. It facilitates the rise of unchecked power, which often escapes judicial oversight and constitutional restraints. The use of AI to filter unwarranted content cannot be sufficiently addressed by traditional legal rights and procedures, since these tools are ill-equipped to address the robust, non-transparent and dynamic nature of governance by AI. Consequently, in a digital ecosystem governed by AI, we currently lack sufficient safeguard against the blocking of legitimate content, while securing due process and ensuring freedom of speech.

Niva Elkin-Koren proposes to address AI-based content moderation, by introducing Contesting Algorithms. The rationale of Contesting Algorithms is that algorithmic content moderation often seek to optimize a single goal (i.e., removing copyright infringing materials as defined by rightholders,). At the same time, other values of the public interest (fair use, free speech) are often neglected. Contesting Algorithms introduce an adversarial design, which reflects conflicting interests, and thereby offer a check on dominant removal systems.

The presentation will introduce the strategy of Contesting Algorithms, and demonstrate how regulatory measures could promote the development and implementation of this strategy in online content moderation.


Niva Elkin-Koren is a Professor of Law at the University of Haifa, Faculty of Law, Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University and Senior Fellow at the Weizenbaum Institute (August-September 2019). She is the Founding Director of the Haifa Center for Law & Technology (HCLT), a Co-Director of the Center for Cyber, Law and Policy. During 2009-2012 she served as Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Haifa.

Her current research focuses on governance by AI, data-driven innovation, and the legal interventions which are necessary to facilitate the development and deployment of AI for social good.

Prof. Elkin-Koren has been a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard University, Columbia Law School, UCLA, NYU, George Washington University, Villanova University School of Law and Bocconi University. She received her LL.B from Tel-Aviv University Faculty of Law in 1989, her LL.M from Harvard Law School in 1991, and her S.J.D from Stanford Law School in 1995. 

Her publications are listed here


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