18 July 2018

Transparency and the Data Producer's Right

Reading 'The Many Dimensions of Transparency: A Literature Review' by Daniel Wyatt before I go off to two days of internet governance and open government meetings

Wyatt comments
This paper presents, from the perspective of a legal academic, an overview of the literature produced by political theorists and scientists on the topic of transparency. The purpose of this overview is that although legal academics that deal with this topic are generally comfortable with the ins and outs of the legislative frameworks that give life to the concept—for example the UK’s freedom of information law or the EU’s public access to documents regulation—they tend to be less clear about the theoretical underpinnings and real-world manifestations of increased transparency. Given that legal academia is ill-equipped to respond to such concerns, recourse must therefore be had to literature in the political sciences on the topic. 
To achieve the paper’s modest goal, numerous posited definitions of transparency are first outlined. Secondly, transparency’s relationship with the concepts of accountability, legitimacy and trust are then discussed. Finally, the potentially ‘negative’ aspects of the concept are analysed, for example that increased transparency leads to extreme position-taking in decision-making institutions or to decreased efficiency of decision-making processes. The ultimate conclusion of the paper is that transparency is still a vaguely understood and largely under-researched concept—particularly from an empirical perspective—and that its operation is almost entirely context-bound.
'Data Producer's Right in the Platform Economy' by Peter K. Yu in (2018) 15 Medien und Recht International comments
In October 2017, the European Commission advanced a proposal for the creation of a new data producer's right for non-personal, anonymized machine-generated data. Driven in large part by the automotive industry, this proposal has thus far attracted considerable criticisms. While commentators have questioned whether the proposed right is needed in the first place, the EU proposal has also generated more questions than answers. 
Written for a special issue on the "Legal Implications of the Platform Economy," this essay begins by revisiting the debate on sui generis database protection in both the Europe Union and the United States. It then discusses the many difficult policy questions that policymakers will have to address before they can create the new right. The essay concludes by examining four additional complications that may make it difficult to develop a coherent body of laws to govern the emerging and fast-changing data economy.