The last few years have seen a growing number of individuals and collectives capitalising on data rights to vindicate social justice goals in digitally intermediated environments. These goals tend to be very diverse: from demanding better labour conditions for gig workers, to challenging demonetisation practices affecting independent content creators, or reverse-engineering credit- scoring algorithms discriminating against certain communities. All these examples are characterised by specific group dynamics, increasingly being constrained by the platform-owned digital infrastructures in which they are embedded. Data rights has the potential to play a transformative role in building collective and countervailing resistance to platform power. The potential lies in envisioning new collective futures to construct more equitable forms of digital infrastructures. This panel will explore how data rights can, and should, empower people, in order to challenge the unilateral reconfiguration of group dynamics and communities by platform companies.
• This panel aims to situate data rights within the broader toolbox for resisting platform power over group dynamics. The overall objective is to explore whether, how, and to what degree, data rights can and should be used as collective tools for digital infrastructure resistance.
• As a concrete outcome of this panel, we hope to identify the essential parameters/constraints to ensure a constructive and systematised approach to using data rights as tools for platform resistance. G UIDING Q UESTIONS
• Can and/or should data rights be used in a way to resist platform dominance?
• How can we enable a collective/inclusive approach to platform resistance through (primarily) individualistic tools such as data rights?
• What are the mechanisms (if any) for platforms to resist/object/refuse the exercise of data rights in this manner?
• How do data rights relate to other tools for resistance and to what extent are they sufficient and (ir)relevant to empower specific communities vis-à-vis platform companies?
• What is the role of civil society in organising data rights as tools for platform resistance? How can other sector-specific entities (e.g. unions, topic-specific NGO’s, etc), and civil society collaborate for more valuable outcomes?
• Is there a risk of seeing this data rights exercise being undermined through problematic uses? How do we make sure that this trend of using data rights for social justice aims evolves constructively and ethically?
- Moderator: Jill Toh, University of Amsterdam
- Rebekah Overdorf, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
- Gloria Gonzalez Fuster, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
- Bama Athreya, Open Society Foundation
Check out the full programme here.
Registrations are open until 24 January, 2021 here.