Interview with Fabiana Di Porto

In a few words, can you tell us about yourself and how you found your way to the academic field?

I’m a law professor specialized in EU digital law. After graduating from Luiss law school of Rome, Italy, I constantly pursued research in academia: Started at Luiss (IP and competition Law with G. Ghidini); continued at Uni Siena (competition law and regulation) and consolidated at EUI Fiesole. Continued at Uni Salento (digital law) and consolidated at Hebrew U (law & technology)

What is the main core of your research? Can you give an example or two? How is it related to cyber security?

Currently my research focus is 1) theorizing the rise of Law & Technology: a nascent inter-disciplinary research field, which uses deep learning algorithms to: a. Analyze b. Interpret c. Apply/enforce, and d. “enhance” the law 2) focus on law “enhancement” and use algorithms to produce self-applying laws in the field of disclosure duties (ie laws that will not need to be implemented by the industry but will be automatically so through specifications) Ex, in the privacy domain, norms in the GDPR requesting data controllers to produce disclaimers with certain info will not result in a plethora of lengthy meaningless messages no one reads. Norms and disclaimers will be combined in dynamic differentiated texts targeted at different groups of addressees. Timely and shown automatically.

Why did you choose this area over all others? Did your personal or professional background lead you to it?

I did some studies on behavioral sciences and the law (appeared in Alemanno and Sibony, with a foreword by Sunstein, in 2015). It was easy to shift to big data. Hence I published a book (in Italian, 2016) on Disclosure regulation: cognitive science and big data profiles. That paved the way to my current research work at HU (see previous point)

Do you think that in this cyber age these issues are even more complex compared to other times in history? If so – in what ways?

Not really. Every time has its evolutionary waves. Some witness revolutions. The present times are revolutionary and require several relevant things. Two may be key: truly inter-disciplinary research Open minds/eyes

After explaining the main core of your research, what do you think is the solution? What is the proper model for that? Is it applicable?

Using algorithms to produce or enhance the law is a sub category of using algorithms to simplify whatever complex human activity With a big difference: law can affect human liberty/dignity/rights, hence it is relevant to establish limits and due process. My goal is to make it not an external rule but rather an internal way of functioning of algorithmic tools. To do so I first use NLP and knowledge graph and in phase two, I use regulatory sandbox and knowledge graph. The model of algorithmic regulation in the disclosure field can definitely be operationalized, data scientists say. Once operationalized, the model can be used in different fields of law.

What is the next phase in your professional life?

1. being hired by a top ranked university 2. coordinating an inter-disciplinary research group on algorithmic regulation 3. Operationalizing algorithmic regulation

What is your message to the public?

Live digital. Dive safely We are like fish in the waters of a lake, sorting out from which should not be a choice. (adapted from R. Aquiva)