Chilling Effects of Profiling Activities: Mapping the Issues

36 Pages Posted: 7 May 2019

See all articles by Moritz Büchi

Moritz Büchi

University of Zurich

Eduard Fosch Villaronga

Leiden University

Christoph Lutz

BI Norwegian Business School

Aurelia Tamò-Larrieux

Center for Information Technology, Society, and Law (ITSL)

Shruthi Velidi

BI Norwegian Business School

Salome Viljoen

Harvard University

Date Written: April 28, 2019

Abstract

In this article, we provide an in-depth overview of the literature on chilling effects and corporate profiling and connect the two topics. We start by explaining how profiling, within an increasingly data-rich environment, creates substantial power asymmetries between users and platforms (and corporations more broadly). We stress the notion of inferences and the increasingly automatic nature of decision-making, based on user data, as essential aspects of profiling. We then discuss chilling effects in depth, connecting them to corporate profiling. In the article, we first stress the relationship and similarities between profiling and surveillance. Second, we illustrate chilling effects as a result of state and peer surveillance; we then show the interrelatedness of corporate and state profiling, and we finally spotlight the customization of behavior and behavioral manipulation as particularly outstanding issues in this discourse. We also explore the legal foundations of profiling through an in-depth analysis of European and US data protection law. We found that, while Europe has a clear regulatory framework in place for profiling, the US primarily relies on a patchwork of sector-specific or state laws. Besides, there is an attempt to regulate differential impacts of profiling, via anti-discrimination statutes, yet few policies focus on combating generalized, concrete harms of profiling, such as chilling effects. At the end of the article, we bring together the diverse strands of literature in concise propositions to guide future research on the connection between corporate profiling and chilling effects.

Keywords: profiling, inferences, chilling effects, surveillance, data protection, privacy, algorithms, big data, digital footprints

JEL Classification: K33, K39, K00, O33, K19

Suggested Citation

Büchi, Moritz and Fosch Villaronga, Eduard and Lutz, Christoph and Tamò-Larrieux, Aurelia and Velidi, Shruthi and Viljoen, Salome, Chilling Effects of Profiling Activities: Mapping the Issues (April 28, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3379275 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3379275

Moritz Büchi

University of Zurich ( email )

Andreasstrasse 15
Zürich, CH-8050
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://moritzbuchi.com/

Eduard Fosch Villaronga (Contact Author)

Leiden University ( email )

Steenschuur 25
Leiden, 2311 ES
Netherlands

Christoph Lutz

BI Norwegian Business School ( email )

Nydalsveien 37
Oslo, Oslo NO-0484
Norway
+4746410206 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Christoph_Lutz

Aurelia Tamò-Larrieux

Center for Information Technology, Society, and Law (ITSL) ( email )

Rämistrasse 74/49
Zurich, CH-8001
Switzerland
446345998 (Phone)

Shruthi Velidi

BI Norwegian Business School ( email )

Nydalsveien 37
Oslo, 0442
Norway

Salome Viljoen

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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