The Case for Local Data Sharing Ordinances

39 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2021

See all articles by Beatriz Botero Arcila

Beatriz Botero Arcila

Sciences Po - Sciences Po Law School - Ecole de Droit de Sciences Po; Harvard University, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Date Written: April 1, 2021


Cities in the US have started to enact data-sharing rules and programs to access some of the data that technology companies operating under their jurisdiction – like short-term rental or ride hailing companies - collect. This information allows cities to adapt too to the challenges and benefits of the digital information economy. It allows them to understand what their impact is on congestion, the housing market, the local job market and even the use of public spaces. It also empowers them to act accordingly by, for example, setting vehicle caps or mandating a tailored minimum pay for gig-workers. These companies, however, sometimes argue that sharing this information attempts against their users’ privacy rights and their privacy rights, because this information is theirs; it’s part of their business records. The question is thus what those rights are, and whether it should and could be possible for local governments to access that information to advance equity and sustainability, without harming the legitimate privacy interests of both individuals and companies. This Article argues that within current Fourth Amendment doctrine and privacy law there is space for data-sharing programs. Privacy law, however, is being mobilized to alter the distribution of power and welfare between local governments, companies, and citizens within current digital information capitalism to extend those rights beyond their fair share and preempt permissible data-sharing requests. The Article warns that if the companies succeed in their challenges, privacy law will have helped shield corporate power from regulatory oversight, while still leaving individuals largely unprotected and submitting local governments further to corporate interests.

Keywords: data, surveillance, cities, digital economy, local government law, municipal law, democracy, platform economy, sharing economy

Suggested Citation

Botero Arcila, Beatriz, The Case for Local Data Sharing Ordinances (April 1, 2021). William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Beatriz Botero Arcila (Contact Author)

Sciences Po - Sciences Po Law School - Ecole de Droit de Sciences Po ( email )

13 rue de l'Universite
Paris, 75007

HOME PAGE: http://

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

United States

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