"Privacy vs. Precaution: Responsible Use of AI-Driven Intelligence in Armed Conflict"


Monday February 6, 2023
2:30 pm - 4:30 pm

The School of Policy Studies and the Department of Political Studies Present:

A Research Talk with Leah West

"Privacy vs. Precaution: Responsible Use of AI-Driven Intelligence in Armed Conflict"

Monday, February 6, 2023 | 2:30-4:30 PM

Robert Sutherland Hall Room 202, 138 Union Street, Kingston

Abstract: The operational demands of modern armed conflict highlight a pressing need for AI-driven intelligence. Modern tools, like facial recognition technology, can help soldiers quickly identify enemy combatants and limit collateral damage. Yet, the widespread use of AI-enabled surveillance methods poses a serious threat to the privacy rights of non-combatants. This talk explores the tension between the quest for identity dominance promoted by international humanitarian law and the privacy rights of civilians living through an armed conflict. Dr. West will argue that despite this apparent conflict, the right to privacy and the principle of precaution apply concurrently in an armed conflict and offer a function-based approach to designing policies and procedures capable of adapting to meet the military’s evolving privacy obligations.

Biography: Leah West is an Assistant Professor of International Affairs at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. She completed her SJD at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 2020, where her research explored the application of criminal, constitutional and international law to state conduct in cyberspace. She is also the National Administrator of the Canadian National Rounds of the Phillip C Jessup International Law Moot, serves as Counsel with Friedman Mansour LLP, and was an inaugural McCain Institute National Security & Counterterrorism Fellow.

Leah is the co-author with Craig Forcese of National Security Law (Irwin Law, 2021, 2d Ed) and co-editor with Thomas Juneau and Amarnath Amarasingam of Stress Tested: The COVID-19 Pandemic and Canadian National Security (UCP, 2021). She is also the author of several peer-reviewed articles in Canadian and international journals on legal issues concerning national security and cyber operations, and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of National Security Law & Policy, and Terrorism and Political Violence. She is a regular commentator on national security matters for Canadian and international media outlets and has testified before the House of Commons, the Senate, and the European Parliament.

Leah previously served as Counsel with the Department of Justice in the National Security Litigation and Advisory Group. She has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court in designated proceedings, and the Security Intelligence Review Committee. Before being called to the Ontario Bar in 2016, Leah clerked for the Honourable Justice Mosley of the Federal Court of Canada. A graduate of RMC, Leah served in the Canadian Armed Forces for ten years as an Armoured Officer; she deployed to Afghanistan in 2010.