Research Seminar in Sociology of Law with Jannice Käll
The Sociology of Law Department arranges a series of research seminars inviting both local and international researchers who are conducting state of the art research within various areas of law and society.
More-than-human rights to data
Recent legislation within the EU has focused on (re)creating rights for private persons in relation to the data they produce in digital settings. The construction of such rights furthermore rests upon the hybrid rights-holder: the data subject. Connected to this being, several rights are set out to protect, or, at least balance, the data subject’s privacy against the so-called free flows of information. As the data-driven economy unfolds, other data producers, beyond the human data subject, also emerge. As an example, smart cities, are dependent on sensors, embedded in both human and nonhuman bodies, to collect, and optimize, data regarding their behaviours. Recent moves to emphasize the sovereignty of nature in the face of the catastrophic events expected by the Anthropocene, also suggest that nature could become a data producer, and data trader, in itself.
Indicative of these projects, and rights, is that they are likely to produce limited intervention in the data-driven forms of capitalism. The reason for this is that data, the new oil (which depends on an old fossil economy), is primarily considered a desirable market asset and resource for exploitation under advanced capitalism. Consequently, the data rights, if focused only on human privacy protection, are limited in relation to the actual exploitation carried out via data extraction, of both human and nonhuman bodies. In this chapter, I analyze the ongoing developments of data rights anchored in a critical posthumanist tradition. The purpose of this is to consider what data rights beyond the human, as “more-than-human rights to data”, could imply. In doing so, it suggests that such rights need to approach the different layers of data extraction and use, in a manner that actively limits data-driven capitalism from harming life on Earth, for both the human data subject and others.
Jannice Käll is a senior lecturer at the Sociology of Law Department, Lund University. Her research focuses on the change in law under the influence of different forms of digital technologies. In particular, she utilizes and develops critical legal theory based on new materialist and posthumanist theory to scrutinize the control over life in a digitized society.