Thursday, November 17th from 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Join METRO's Director of Programs and Partnerships, Davis Erin Anderson, for a conversation with Sarah Lamdan about Lamdan's new book, Data Cartels: The Companies That Control and Monopolize Our Information.
About the book: In our digital world, data is power. Information hoarding businesses reign supreme, using intimidation, aggression, and force to maintain influence and control. Sarah Lamdan brings us into the unregulated underworld of these "data cartels," demonstrating how the entities mining, commodifying, and selling our data and informational resources perpetuate social inequalities and threaten the democratic sharing of knowledge.
Just a few companies dominate most of our critical informational resources. Often self-identifying as "data analytics" or "business solutions" operations, they supply the digital lifeblood that flows through the circulatory system of the internet. With their control over data, they can prevent the free flow of information, masterfully exploiting outdated information and privacy laws and curating online information in a way that amplifies digital racism and targets marginalized communities. They can also distribute private information to predatory entities. Alarmingly, everything they're doing is perfectly legal.
In this book, Lamdan contends that privatization and tech exceptionalism have prevented us from creating effective legal regulation. This in turn has allowed oversized information oligopolies to coalesce. In addition to specific legal and market-based solutions, Lamdan calls for treating information like a public good and creating digital infrastructure that supports our democratic ideals.
About the author: Sarah Lamdan is a Professor of Law. She teaches administrative law, environmental law, data privacy, information access, and government transparency courses. Before teaching law, Lamdan was a librarian in academic and private libraries.
Professor Lamdan’s 2017 reference book Environmental Information: Research, Access & Environmental Decisionmaking (Environmental Law Institute) is a resource for journalists, scientists, and researchers who rely on government science. Her work has been published in law reviews and information science journals, including the NYU Review of Law and Social Change, Library Journal, Government Information Quarterly, and forthcoming work in the Georgetown Law Technology Review.
When she’s not teaching, Professor Lamdan is active in national information access and data privacy research and organizations. She is a Senior Fellow with the SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and a fellow at the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy at NYU School of Law. She’s also a member of the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) and a co-chair of the Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) Community Oversight Council.