Artificial Intelligence & Law Colloquium: Julie Cohen

Monday, March 9 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Education Building (EDU), 1131
401 East Peltason Drive Irvine, CA 92697-8000

The Biopolitical Public Domain: The Legal Construction of the Surveillance Economy

Julie Cohen
Mark Claster Mamolen Professor of Law and Technology, Georgetown Law

Citation: Julie E. Cohen, The Biopolitical Public Domain: The Legal Construction of the Surveillance Economy, 31 PHIL. & TECH. 213 (2018).

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Within the political economy of informational capitalism, commercial surveillance practices are tools for resource extraction. That process requires an enabling legal construct, which this Chapter identifies and explores. Contemporary practices of personal information processing constitute a new type of public domain — a repository of raw materials that are there for the taking and that are framed as inputs to particular types of productive activity. As a legal construct, the biopolitical public domain shapes practices of appropriation and use of personal information in two complementary and interrelated ways. First, it constitutes personal information as available and potentially valuable: as a pool of materials that may be freely appropriated as inputs to economic production. That framing supports the reorganization of sociotechnical activity in ways directed toward extraction and appropriation. Second, the biopolitical public domain constitutes the personal information harvested within networked information environments as raw. That framing creates the backdrop for culturally-situated techniques of knowledge production and for the logic that designates those techniques as sites of legal privilege.

Lunch will be served.

This event is pending approval of Minimum Continuing Legal Education Credit by the State Bar of California. UCI Law is a State Bar-approved provider.

About the Colloquium
Machine learning and automated decision-making technologies (colloquially dubbed "artificial intelligence" or "AI") are an increasingly integral feature of social systems. These technologies raise novel legal questions regarding oversight, individual rights, liability and justice. The UCI Law Spring 2020 Colloquium on AI & Law brings to campus leading thinkers engaged with these issues.

Event Type



Students, Staff, Faculty, Alumni, General Public




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