External PhD candidate
Mason Marks has been connected to the Center for Law and Digital Technologies (eLaw) since May 2018 as a PhD candidate. His research focuses on the differences between EU and US privacy laws and how they affect the collection of consumer health data by multinational organizations.
Mason Marks is a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project where his research focuses on privacy, health, and technology law. He is also be a joint research fellow at NYU Law School’s Information Law Institute and Cornell Tech’s Digital Life Initiative.
Dr. Marks became affiliated with the Institute for Law and Digital Technologies (eLaw) in 2018 to conduct research on EU and US health privacy law and corporate mining of consumer health data. His law and technology writing has been featured in Wired, STAT, the NYU Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, and Harvard Law School's Bill of Health. In 2018, he led a reading group for Yale law students called Regulating the Future of Medicine.
Dr. Marks received his J.D. from Vanderbilt Law School. He is a member of the California Bar, and he practiced intellectual property law in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to law school, he received his M.D. from Tufts University and his B.A. in Biology from Amherst College.
In the Information Age, corporations gather an unprecedented amount of data from consumers. Some companies use text mining, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to infer the health status of consumers and predict their behavior. Dr. Marks refers to this process as mining for emergent medical data because the raw data that is collected often lacks obvious connections to people’s health. It is only after analysis by machine learning that the data’s health-related properties emerge.
Mining for emergent medical data may have some socially beneficial uses. For example, it could be used to track the spread of communicable diseases or to predict and prevent suicide. However, the data is often collected without consumers’ knowledge or consent, and it allows companies to segment the population based on disabilities, diseases, and other health characteristics. When used to profile consumers, emergent medical data can promote discrimination and inequality through targeted advertising and automated decision-making in a variety of industries including employment, lending, insurance, and education.
Dr. Mark's PhD dissertation will explain how differences between EU and US privacy laws affect mining for emergent medical data and its use in consumer profiling and automated decision making. The project will propose a set of international legal standards for regulating the collection and use of emergent medical data.