NULab faculty members and associate and assistant professors of computer science, respectively, Alan Mislove and Christo Wilson, have been researching whether the pro­pri­etary algo­rithms that online job hunting sites use to ana­lyze user pro­file data, web-​​browsing choices, and other online infor­ma­tion may lead to discrimination. But due to a section of the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), it is a crime to violate a website’s terms of service– which are fashioned by each individual site and open to change at any time. These terms prohibit activities that computer researcher rely on to determine if sites treat all users equally, which include creating dummy online identities, setting up multiple accounts, and using automated methods to collect publicly available data. Mislove and Wilson, along with severeal other plaintiffs and the American Civil Liberties Union, are bringing a case challenging a section of the anti-hacking law as unconstitutional.

Read more about the case and Mislove’s and Wilson’s take on the laws in the Northeastern News.