No Rewind Button: Legal Pitfalls of Machine Learning Systems

September/October 2020

Machine learning (ML) systems have a fundamental vulnerability from a legal perspective: there is no rewind button. That is, once information is incorporated into an ML model, there is virtually no way to remove it. This vulnerability is inherent to the technological framework of ML systems and could be fatal from a legal perspective. If ingested data is tainted (e.g., via trade secret misappropriation or violation of license restrictions), there may be no way to comply with a court order to remove the offending data. This article reviews some of the technology and legal dynamics underlying this conundrum and offers some preventative guidelines to avoid this trap. 

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