Data and Democracy

Oct 15-16, 2020

Today, governments and private actors can collect, store, and continuously update vast troves of data. Yet we have barely begun to understand the impact on our democracy of large-scale data collection and the use of such data sets to make decisions that can dramatically impact individual lives and entire communities.

The Data and Democracy Symposium will investigate what our changing capacities to capture, analyze, and manipulate data mean for self-government, and ask how the law must adapt to ensure the conditions for a robust democracy. Organized by the Knight First Amendment Institute Senior Visiting Research Scholar, Amy Kapczynski, and co-sponsored by the Law and Political Economy Project, the symposium will focus on three areas that are both central to democratic governance and directly affected by advancing technologies and ever-increasing data collection: 1) public opinion formation and access to information; 2) the formation and exercise of public power; and 3) the political economy of data. 

The symposium will be held online on Thursday, October 15th and Friday, October 16th

Papers presented by scholars including:

  • Hannah Bloch-Wehba (Texas A&M University School of Law)
  • John Bowers (Harvard Berkman Klein Center), Elaine Sedenberg* (Harvard Berkman Klein Center), and Jonathan Zittrain (Harvard Law School)
  • danah boyd (Data & Society) and Dan Bouk (Colgate University)
  • Kiel Brennan-Marquez (University of Connecticut Law) and Daniel Susser (Pennsylvania State University)
  • Julie Cohen (Georgetown Law)
  • Aziz Huq (University of Chicago Law) and Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar (Stanford Law School and the California Supreme Court)
  • Frank Pasquale (University of Maryland Carey School of Law)
  • Bertrall Ross (University of California, Berkeley, School of Law) and Douglas Spencer (University of Connecticut Law)
  • Mathias Vermeulen (Mozilla Foundation)
  • Wendy Wagner (University of Texas School of Law) and Martin Murillo (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)
  • Rebecca Wexler (University of California, Berkeley, School of Law)

A preliminary description of participants and their contributions can be found here. The panel links will be emailed to participants after they RSVP. We will update this page with more information closer to the date of the event. 

*Sedenberg is also a Privacy & Data Policy Manager at Facebook but is writing solely in her personal capacity.

Register for Event