Software Governance and Automobiles: Building the Open Road

Where: Columbia Law School’s Jerome Greene Hall, 435 West 116th Street, Room 101, New York, New York.

When: April 13, 2018 9:00am to 5:30pm EDT

Who: Eben Moglen, Mishi Choudhary, Software Freedom Law Center

On April 13, SFLC and Columbia Law School will host a special one-day conference, “Software Governance and Automobiles: Building the Open Road”.

Over the next five years, the automobile industry and all developed societies will be fundamentally altered by a new union of information and automotive technologies. Software embedded in vehicles and roadways, along with traffic and movement data collected “in the cloud,” will alter the basic infrastructural details of economic and individual life. Individual safety, public security, and all basic economic activity will depend on the functioning of software in automobiles. How that software is governed (how it is maintained, repaired, inspected; who may change it how, and with what accountability; how vehicle owners and users can exercise their rights in that software, and what their rights ought to be), will determine the real social consequences hidden behind phrases like “self-driving,” “connected cars,” and “robot revolution.”

In this unique, one-day, by-invitation event held at Columbia Law School in New York City, we explore technical, legal and social questions concerning software governance in the near-term automotive future. How can innovations in software engineering help us to improve reliability and serviceability of embedded automotive software? How can user innovation be maximized, allowing car owners to modify the operation of their vehicles, while preserving safety and allowing manufacturers to limit their liability? How can vehicles be upgraded in service without also creating dangers of malware injection and privacy invasion? Presenting real-world solutions under development that maximize openness while increasing the reliability of governance, this conference aims to offer cutting-edge thinking in the context of an automotive industry undergoing revolutionary transformation.

Conference Program:

  • Speakers:

    • Eben Moglen, SFLC/CLS & Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical Ltd.:
      • Automated Software Governance and Copyleft in Cars
    • Daniel Patnaik, Audi:
      • Security, TiVo-ization, and FOSS Licenses: an Industry View
    • Nicholas McGuire, Open Source Automation Development Lab (OSADL e.G.), Safety Critical Linux Working Group:
      • Systems Engineering and the Sins of Software
    • Jeremiah Foster, Community Manager, GENIVI Alliance, Open Source Technologist, Luxoft:
      • Industry Transformation: From Metal-Benders to Software Companies
    • Alistair Adams, Qt: Automotive Adoption and Governance of FOSS:
      • Qt’s Challenges and Experience
    • Leilani H Gilpin, Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
      • Self-Explanation and Self-Driving: How to Make Autonomous Vehicles Tell Us How They Work

and possibly more to come.

Our conference is invitation only, free of charge. If you would like to attend, please let us know at

This event will be recorded.

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