The Corporate Culpability of Big Tech
in Elise Bant (ed.), The Culpable Corporate Mind (Hart Publishing, Oxford: 2023), 97-115. Available at https://www.bloomsbury.com/au/culpable-corporate-mind-9781509952397/
20 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2023 Last revised: 15 Nov 2023
Date Written: October 20, 2023
This contribution cracks open and lays bare the paradox of Big Tech's small liabilities for systemic misconduct, and provides a richly expansive pathway for bringing these companies to justice.
Applying Elise Bant's model of 'systems intentionality' to Facebook and Uber as exemplars of Big Tech, the chapter demonstrates how technology firms routinise the systematic production of collateral damage as a necessary trade-off of their too-big-to-patrol products and services, their extractive business models, and their tireless hunt for scale and dominance. The analysis exposes the limited framing by which technology firms have traditionally been scrutinised, in particular through areas of law that are largely agnostic to intent, and breaks essential new ground by enabling more explicit consideration of the connection between the harms occasioned by Big Tech and moral opprobrium.
The chapter concludes with some observations on practical challenges in holding Big Tech to account and identifies opportunities for future work in applying the model of systems intentionality, including issues surrounding licensure, causes of action, jurisdiction, institutional capacity, timing and defiant corporations.
Keywords: Big Tech, culpability, liability, regulation, Facebook, Meta, Uber, harm, crime, systems intentionality
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