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Rights for Those Who Unwillingly, Unknowingly and Unidentifiably Compute!

Veale, Michael; (2024) Rights for Those Who Unwillingly, Unknowingly and Unidentifiably Compute! In: Micklitz, Hans-Wolfgang and Vettori, Giussepe, (eds.) The Person and the Future of Private Law. (pp. 1-19). Hart (In press).

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Profiling of individuals has long been a concern to scholars and civil society, and a lucrative way for platforms to shape markets and extract value. However, people and their environments are not just computed, but they are increasingly also expected to become agents in large scale computations. The strengthening of privacy and data protection law has been used as a reason to move more and more advanced computation concerning individuals, groups and environments onto people’s devices, in a shift called ‘local processing’. This sees individuals’ devices and software work together to undertake collective computations, which often claim to be confidential with regard to the data of each person involved. For example, using technologies such as secure multi-party computation, phones may work together to create models or analysis of spoken language, without revealing anything that any user said to any other person. Such privacy-enhancing technologies equate privacy with confidentiality, and have interesting potential, but seeing an individual as participants in a computation raises new challenges. What autonomy do people have to shape such participation, given the limited technical and practical control over the devices in their pockets? Does their contribution to ethically questionable computation bring some responsibility, and should they be facilitated to refuse to participate in it? How does the individual relate to the overarching forces that orchestrate their ‘personal’ computers? Here, I present a guide and an agenda to navigate these issues, and analyse emerging regimes, such as the ex ante provisions in the Digital Markets Act and the Data Act, as well as interpretations of the General Data Protection Regulation, to understand how, if at all, they support those that unwillingly, unknowingly and perhaps even unidentifiably facilitate, rather than become the subject of, controversial computation.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Rights for Those Who Unwillingly, Unknowingly and Unidentifiably Compute!
DOI: 10.31235/osf.io/4ugxd
Publisher version: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/academic/law/
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author-accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10176572
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