Revaluing Data Protection Law: The Case of Information Access in an Era of Automated Decision-making

Monday, March 13, 2023 13:30to14:30

Zoom Registration. 

Join us for an AI and the Law talk with Prof. Frank Pasquale, who will examine the wide range of benefits that clarified and well-enforced information access rights can have for those who have been treated unfairly. 


Several jurisdictions are now expanding their data protection laws in response to proliferating algorithmic evaluations of consumers, workers, borrowers, and internet users. As they digitize managerial judgment, these evaluations risk imposing benefits and burdens in opaque and unaccountable ways. Information access rights guaranteed via data protection law can assist those who have been treated unfairly—but only if they are clarified and enforced well. 

As diverse agencies interpret and apply data access rights, they face a growing backlash from critics, who emphasize the costs of compliance and minimize estimated benefits. This backlash may prematurely limit the scope of access rights by convincing regulators to interpret relevant statutes too narrowly. To avoid that outcome, policymakers should recognize the full range of benefits of rights to information access, bearing in mind their social and long-term benefits.  

To help ensure they do so, this talk makes three main contributions. First, it demonstrates the wide range of harms that may occur when access to one’s personal data (and meaningful information about its use) is denied. Second, it surveys key access rights designed to ameliorate the harms caused by inaccurate and inappropriate data, showing how contestable their definition now is. Third, it sets forth elements for a policy evaluation framework to inform the proper level and scope of information access, as regulators clarify the contours of such rights. The result is a richer framework for policy evaluation of governmental regulation of corporations’ evaluations of persons. 

-- NB Prof. Pasquale’s paper on this topic can be made available to any participant  

About the speaker: 

Frank Pasquale is an expert on the law of AI, algorithms, and machine learning. He is Forchelli Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, an Affiliate Fellow at Yale University's Information Society Project, and a member of the American Law Institute. He is co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cross-Disciplinary Research in Computational Law (CRCL), based in the Netherlands, and a Partner Investigator of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence on Automated Decision-Making & Society (ADM+S). His book The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information (Harvard University Press 2015) has been recognized as a landmark study on the law and political economy of information. His New Laws of Robotics: Defending Human Expertise in the Age of AI (Harvard University Press 2020) rethinks the political economy of automation, to promote human capacities as the irreplaceable center of an inclusive economy. 

AI and the Law Series 

The AI and the Law Series is hosted by the Montreal Cyberjustice Laboratory, and the Private Justice and the Rule of Law Research Group. We would like to thank our sponsors: the Autonomy Through Cyberjustice Technologies and AI Project, and the McGill Student Collective on Technology and Law. 



Back to top