Resisting the iLeviathan: A solidarity-based approach to data governance

Speaker: Barbara Prainsack # University of Vienna

18th Mar 2019

15:30 - 17:00

CMB Staff Room (6th Floor)

Clarifying the role and status of digital data in our societies is one of the most pressing challenges in our societies. How we determine the role and status of digital data affects virtually every policy field as well as the organisation of our political economy as a whole. To do so requires the rethinking (a) the ontological and legal status of digital data, and (b) appropriate governance regimes and instruments.

Drawing on the concept of solidarity I propose that we need a stronger emphasis on collective forms of control and ownership of data. This entails the establishment of digital data commons (and corresponding governance frameworks) wherever possible, as well as well as a regulatory approach that focuses on the purposes of data use, not on the assumed properties of data types, when classifying risk and imposing duties and protections. In addition, the law should pay systematic attention to whether or not data use aims at creating public value, and treat data uses that aim at creating public value differently from those that do not. Last but not least, in the era of data mining and predictive analytics we need new and more effective instruments for harm mitigation. 

Barbara Prainsack is Professor at the University of Vienna