Digital Labor

Frank Pasquale


Frank Pasquale is a professor of law at the University of Maryland. His research addresses the challenges posed to information law by rapidly changing technology, particularly in the health care, internet, and finance industries. He is a member of the Council for Big Data, Ethics, and Society, and an Affiliate Fellow of Yale Law School’s Information Society Project. He frequently presents on the ethical, legal, and social implications of information technology for attorneys, physicians, and other health professionals. His book The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms that Control Money and Information(Harvard University Press, 2015) develops a social theory of reputation, search, and finance. Pasquale serves on the Advisory Boards of the Data Competition Institute, Data Justice, Patient Privacy Rights and the Electronic Privacy Information Center. He is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Legal Education and the Oxford Handbooks Online in Law.

Risk Mitigation Strategies for Platform Cooperatives

Recently some for-profit gig economy firms failed, ostensibly due to lawsuits over worker classification. Other for profit firms thrive by ignoring or evading the law. Some legal issues facing platform coops are relatively straightforward: few doubt the moral imperative of abiding by anti-discrimination laws, however aggressively firms like Uber disclaim their applicability to platforms. Screening and monitoring employees will be a more difficult issue. We need to move from criticizing the digital star chamber of 5-star rating systems and address the types of concerns they crudely reflects: merit and opportunity within a workplace. The question of screening is important, too: how are bad actors kept out of the coop? Finally, the question of insurance is key. Should a platform coop for drivers simply take Uber’s approach and shift the responsibility to drivers to decide how well they want to insure? Or is this a matter best handled collectively? These practical concerns should be part of risk mitigation strategies of emerging coops.

Making It Work
Fri, November 13
11:00 AM - 12:50 PM