Analysis and Theory

Building the Field

Engineering and Policy Development

Platforms and the Right to Information

May 2, 2024

Berkman Klein Center
1557 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

May 2, 9:30 AM–May 2, 2:45 PM

Join us for a one-day workshop examining what the right to information should look like in relation to platforms and how it can be implemented in a manner that protects user privacy.

At a time of growing concern regarding platform power, what kinds of claims can we make to access platform data? How can we ensure that the digital world can be independently knowable and interrogated and that this ability is equitably distributed? If we allow access, how do we protect privacy and confidentiality? How do these questions fit within a broader set of concerns regarding the social and democratic value of data, data colonialism, data justice, and epistemic justice?

Many jurisdictions are starting to address the issue of access to platform data. For example, the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) imposes obligations on “very large online platforms” and “very large online search engines” to share data with researchers and regulators. The proposed US Platform Accountability and Transparency Act (PATA) and Canada’s proposed Online Harms Act would also require access for researchers.

This workshop, cohosted by the Berkman Klein Center’s Institute for Rebooting Social Media and the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society (SRI) at the University of Toronto, brings together a diverse and interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners to discuss these initiatives and place them within a broader critical context.


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