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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Between Truth and Power: The Legal Constructions of Informational Capitalism Roundtable

I'm in Notre Dame and excited to be part of a roundtable in honor of Julie Cohen's new book, Between Truth and Power. The book is dazzling in its breadth and insights. Between Truth and Power asks us to consider the new ways powerful actors extract valuable resources for gain and dominance. Cohen in particular warns that “the universe of personal data as a commons [is] ripe for exploitation.” Cohen writes that “if protections against discrimination, fraud, manipulation, and election interference are to be preserved in the era of infoglut, regulators will need to engage more directly with practices of data-driven, algorithmic intermediation and their uses and abuses.” In my response essay, Biopolitical Opportunities: Between Datafication & Governance, which I am presenting tomorrow, I read Between Truth and Power as not only a compelling account of the contemporary transformations of law and markets but also a call to action. This essay takes up Cohen’s challenge by considering ways in which governments can engage in new forms of governance to leverage the very same biopolitical data extracted by private actors for profit purposes in service of public goals of fairness, equality, and distributive justice. In particular, the essay describes several current initiatives which demonstrate how datafication can, and indeed should, be employed to aid regulatory research, enforcement, and accountability. The two examples I focus on are first, current developments in labor market information flows, attempting to address salary inequities, labor market concentration, and bias, and second, scraping data off platforms in service of regulatory compliance. I argue that if we are to take Cohen’s framework seriously, then policymakers have no choice but to identify opportunities within disruptive technological changes and frequently mirror, rather than attempt to block, these innovations.

Here at Notre Dame, Mark McKenna per his usual has put together a fantastic group of commentators on  Authority and Legitimacy in the Age of Informational Capitalism - Ari Waldman, Bill McGeveran & Dan Burk; Information Capitalism through Lens of Legal and Professional Culture: Jessica Silbey, Andrew Woods, Neil Richards & Anupam Chander; and Alternative Futures: Orly Lobel, Deirdre Mulligan, Jennifer Daskal & Elliot Visconsi.


Posted by Orly Lobel on January 30, 2020 at 11:52 PM | Permalink


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