IDP2013 (III): Regulation

Notes from the 9th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Big Data: Challenges and Opportunities, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 25-26 June 2013. More notes on this event: idp2013.

Moderator: Marc Vilalta Reixach. Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC).

Regulating Code: Towards Prosumer Law?
Chris Marsden. Professor of Law, Law School, University of Sussex
Ian Brown. Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University

(Communication after the book Regulating Code. Good Governance and Better Regulation in the Information Age by Brown and Marsden).

We certainly are prosumers, but we are sure not super-users or geeks. Most US academic arguments for self-regulation may work for geeks, but not for the remaining 99% of users/prosumers.

What regulation teaches us about code? We need more ex-ante — added to ex-post — intervention. More interoperability and open code/data procurement. And a certain biased policy towards open code.

Prosumer law suggests a more directed intervention: solutions for problems of dominant networking sites, preventing erecting fences around a piece of information and the commons, etc.

It is not sufficient to permit data deletion, as that not only covers the user’s tracks. Interconnection and interoperability, more than transparency and theoretical possibility to switch. The possibility for prosumers to interoperate to permit exit.

Increased interoperability would increase transparency while not increasingly “data hazard”.

Regulation as a Mechanism to Encourage Competition in the Area of Telecommunications: Towards the Concept of Emulated Competition
Humberto Carrasco Blanc. School of Law, University of Edinburgh, Doctoral Research Student

Neoliberalism is about liberalization, deregulation and privatization. The underlying idea is to boost competence, understood as a good thing. In telecommunications, we are moving from sectoral regulation to competence law. The question being: what is better, sectoral regulation or competence law? Or are they both compatible? Or is it a matter of time, being sectoral regulation good for the early stages and as a temporal solution, until competence law can be the main tool at use?

Some examples in the US show that sectoral regulation is incompatible with competence. In these cases, sectoral regulation prevailed over competence law.

On the other hand, in Europe cases have proven the compatibility between sectoral regulation and competence law.

In the case of Chile, after a very early (de)regulation of the sector and a major preponderance of competence law, some new sectoral regulation was approved especially to protect some “public goods” based on telecommunications.

Emulated competence would be a legal framework whose aim would be promoting competence (thus acting as competence law) but including some ex-ante conditions (regulation) to protect some specific goods and services. An underlying goal is to promote competence to end up with monopolies, but trying to avoid actual oligopolies.

Big Data in Public Administrations: the difficult equilibrium between efficacy and the guarantee of citizen’s rights
Julián Valero Torrijos. Profesor de Derecho Administrativo. Universidad de Murcia. Coordinador del grupo de investigación iDerTec (Innovación, Derecho y Tecnología)

How can big data be used by governments to issue sanctions? But it is not about “digitizing” the Administration, but about innovating processes. For instance: could Big Data be used to check whether the declared income to the tax agency fits with the perceived wealth/consumption-level of a specific citizen on social networking sites?

What are the legal consequences of such an action?


Agustí Cerrillo: how does the new Spanish Transparency Law fits in the era of Big Data? Valero: it does not. It is a Law that will be born already old.

Hildebrandt: what happens with reutilization of public information? Can the government reuse it (even for different purposes for the ones which citizen information was provided for)? Valero: on the one hand, why not? why not enabling reutilization of public information? On the other hand, there is a issue concerning privacy. Dissociation of information and identity would be an option, but the problem is that it is becoming increasingly easy to perform reverse engineering and relate identities to information. Of course, different finalities my require consent, but that would put a lot of stress on the government’s part. Maybe transparency (letting the citizen know all the different purposes) would settle the problem.


9th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2013)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2013) “IDP2013 (III): Regulation” In ICTlogy, #117, June 2013. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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