Kaminski on Technological ‘Disruption’ of the Law’s Imagined Scene

Margot E. Kaminski (U Colorado Law; Yale ISP; U Colorado – Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship) has posted “Technological ‘Disruption’ of the Law’s Imagined Scene: Some Lessons from Lex Informatica” (Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Vol. 36, 2022) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Joel Reidenberg in his 1998 Article Lex Informatica observed that technology can be a distinct regulatory force in its own right and claimed that law would arise in response to human needs. Today, law and technology scholarship continues to ask: does technology ever disrupt the law? This Article articulates one particular kind of “legal disruption”: how technology (or really, the social use of technology) can alter the imagined setting around which policy conversations take place—what Jack Balkin and Reva Siegal call the “imagined regulatory scene.” Sociotechnical change can alter the imagined regulatory scene’s architecture, upsetting a policy balance and undermining a particular regulation or regime’s goals. That is, sociotechnical change sometimes disturbs the imagined paradigmatic scenario not by departing from it entirely but by constraining, enabling, or mediating actors’ behavior that we want the law to constrain or protect. This Article identifies and traces this now common move in recent law and technology literature, drawing on Reidenberg’s influential and prescient work.

Hartzog & Richards on Legislating Data Loyalty

Woodrow Hartzog (Boston U Law; Stanford Center for Internet and Society) and Neil M. Richards (Washington U Law; Yale ISP; Stanford Center for Internet and Society) have posted “Legislating Data Loyalty” (97 Notre Dame Law Review Reflection 356 (2022)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Lawmakers looking to embolden privacy law have begun to consider imposing duties of loyalty on organizations trusted with people’s data and online experiences. The idea behind loyalty is simple: organizations should not process data or design technologies that conflict with the best interests of trusting parties. But the logistics and implementation of data loyalty need to be developed if the concept is going to be capable of moving privacy law beyond its “notice and consent” roots to confront people’s vulnerabilities in their relationship with powerful data collectors.

In this short Essay, we propose a model for legislating data loyalty. Our model takes advantage of loyalty’s strengths—it is well-established in our law, it is flexible, and it can accommodate conflicting values. Our Essay also explains how data loyalty can embolden our existing data privacy rules, address emergent dangers, solve privacy’s problems around consent and harm, and establish an antibetrayal ethos as America’s privacy identity.

We propose that lawmakers use a two-step process to (1) articulate a primary, general duty of loyalty, then (2) articulate “subsidiary” duties that are more specific and sensitive to context. Subsidiary duties regarding collection, personalization, gatekeeping, persuasion, and mediation would target the most opportunistic contexts for self-dealing and result in flexible open-ended duties combined with highly specific rules. In this way, a duty of data loyalty is not just appealing in theory—it can be effectively implemented in practice just like the other duties of loyalty our law has recognized for hundreds of years. Loyalty is thus not only flexible, but it is capable of breathing life into America’s historically tepid privacy frameworks.

Chen on How Equalitarian Regulation of Online Hate Speech Turns Authoritarian: A Chinese Perspective

Ge Chen (Durham Law School) has posted “How Equalitarian Regulation of Online Hate Speech Turns Authoritarian: A Chinese Perspective” ((2022) Journal of Media Law 14(1)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article reveals how the heterogeneous legal approaches of balancing online hate speech against equality rights in liberal democracies have informed China in its manipulative speech regulation. In an authoritarian constitutional order, the regulation of hate speech is politically relevant only because the hateful topics are related to regime-oriented concerns. The article elaborates on the infrastructure of an emerging authoritarian regulatory patchwork of online hate speech in the global context and identifies China’s unique approach of restricting political contents under the aegis of protecting equality rights. Ultimately, both the regulation and dis-regulation of online hate speech form a statist approach that deviates from the paradigm protective of equality rights in liberal democracies and serves to fend off open criticism of government policies and public discussion of topics that potentially contravene the mainstream political ideologies.