International Programs and Studies

Back to Listing

Privacy Law and Race Equity (Data Privacy Seminar Speaker Series Spring 2022)

Event Type
School of Information Sciences, European Union Center
wifi event
Feb 17, 2022   12:00 pm  
Originating Calendar
European Union Center Events

Data protection and privacy are growing concerns in our ever more connected world. Some believe that over the next decade, data privacy will be recognized as one of society’s most pressing problems. Therefore, the School of Information Sciences in collaboration with the European Union Center at the University of Illinois is pleased to offer this timely seminar series which brings world class privacy experts of diverse backgrounds and perspectives to share their points of view with us each month.

You will need to register in advance via this link in order to join these virtual meetings.

Data Privacy Seminar Series Spring 2022 Speakers:

  • Lecture 1, January 20, 2022, 12-1pm, Meg Leta Jones
  • Lecture 2, February 17, 2022, 12-1 pm, Anita Allen
  • Lecture 3, March 22, 2022, 12-1 pm, Helen Nissenbaum
  • Lecture 4, April 20, 2022, 12-1 pm, Michele Gilman
  • Lecture 5, May 4, 2022, 12-1 pm, danah boyd

About this talk:

In the opening decades of the 21st century popular online platforms rapidly transformed the world. These platforms have come with benefits, but a heavy price to information privacy and data protection. I propose a new framework for describing African American’s multifaceted situation of risk and harm relating to wrongful data collection, use, analysis and sharing online: the Black Opticon. African Americans online face three distinguishable but related categories of vulnerability to bias and discrimination that I dub the “Black Opticon”: discriminatory oversurveillance (panoptic vulnerabilities to, for example AI empowered facial recognition and geolocation technologies); discriminatory exclusion (ban-optic vulnerabilities to, for example, unequal access to goods, services and public accommodations advertised or offered online); and discriminatory predation (con-optic vulnerabilities to, for example, con-jobs, scams and exploitation relating to credit, employment, business and educational opportunities). Escaping the Black Opticon is unlikely without acknowledgement of privacy’s unequal distribution and privacy law’s outmoded and unduly race-neutral façade.  African Americans  could benefit from race-conscious efforts to shape a more equitable digital public sphere through improved laws and legal institutions. This essay critically elaborates the Black Opticon triad and considers whether  the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (2021), the federal Data Protection Act (2021), and new resources for the Federal Trade Commission proposed in 2021 possibly meet imperatives of a race-conscious African-American Online Equity Agenda, specifically designed to help dismantle the Black Opticon. The 2021 enacted Virginia law and the bill proposing a new federal data protection agency  include civil rights and non-discrimination provisions; and the Federal Trade Commission has an impressive stated commitment to marginalized peoples within the bounds of its authority.   Nonetheless the limited scope and pro-business orientation of the Virginia law, and barriers to follow-through on federal measures, are substantial hurdles in the road to true platform equity.  The path forward requires jumping those hurdles, regulating platforms, and indeed all of the digital economy, in the interests of nondiscrimination, anti-racism and anti-subordination. Toward escaping the Black Opticon’s pernicious gaze, African Americans and their allies will continue the pursuit of viable strategies for justice and equity in the digital economy.

Anita L. Allen is the Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn she is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition, the Warren Center for Network & Data Sciences and a Senior Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics.  A graduate of Harvard Law School with a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Michigan, Allen is an expert on privacy and data protection law, bioethics and public philosophy. She holds an honorary doctorate from Tilburg  University.  In 2019 Allen was President of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association.  In 2021 she was awarded the Quinn Prize for service to philosophy and philosophers. She is an elected  member of the American Law Institute, the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Allen served under President Obama as a member of the National Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Allen currently serves on the boards of the National Constitution Center, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Future of Privacy Forum. Allen has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from EPIC and will receive the 2022 Privacy Award from the Berkeley Law and Technology Center on February 24.  Allen has lectured on privacy in Europe, Japan, Taiwan, and Israel; published five books and over 120 scholarly articles; contributed to and been featured in popular newspapers, magazines, podcasts and blogs; and  appeared on numerous television and radio programs. In 2024 Allen will give the H.L. A. Hart Memorial Lecture at the University of Oxford.

link for robots only