The Future of Online Content Personalisation: Technology, Law and Digital Freedoms

University of Zurich, i-call Working Paper Series No. 2016/01

24 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2016 Last revised: 30 Oct 2016

See all articles by Christoph B. Graber

Christoph B. Graber

University of Zurich, Faculty of Law; Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University

Date Written: October 3, 2016

Abstract

As online information is increasingly tailored, or “personalised”, to the user, it has been praised by some as a pragmatic response to information overload, while criticised by others as creating an echo chamber that threatens deliberative democracy. The unsettling question is whether the latest wave of innovation in online content personalisation technologies has shifted decision-making power from humans to computers. The paper argues that a thorough understanding of personalisation technologies is necessary to critically evaluate their normative effect and impact on social values. It reflects on the differences between regulation by code and regulation by law, exploring how code affects individual and social autonomies, and considering whether meta-rules regulating code are appropriate. The aim of this paper is to detail the constitutive features of the digital world and elucidate how these create norms that regulate the Internet.

Keywords: Tracking, personalisation, algorithms, echo chambers, transnational legal theory, dispositive, regulation by code, societal constitutionalism.

Suggested Citation

Graber, Christoph B., The Future of Online Content Personalisation: Technology, Law and Digital Freedoms (October 3, 2016). University of Zurich, i-call Working Paper Series No. 2016/01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2847008 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2847008

Christoph B. Graber (Contact Author)

University of Zurich, Faculty of Law ( email )

Treichlerstrasse 10
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.rwi.uzh.ch/lehreforschung/alphabetisch/graber_en.html

Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: https://cyber.harvard.edu/people/cgraber

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