Democratic Data: Developing Digital Counterpower

The past decade has witnessed an explosion of data collection about individuals. U.S. law has traditionally approached data governance by focusing on individual privacy and contract adequacy. This approach, however, fails to grapple with the “relational” way that data is stored, analyzed, and utilized. We speak with Salomé Viljoen, an Assistant Professor of Law at The University of Michigan Law School about how future legal regimes can benefit from an understanding of a “relational” theory of data, and how the rise of big data has immense potential to create counter-power for traditionally marginalized members of our society and the environment. To highlight how lawyers can employ big data to generate counterpower, we also speak with Uzoma Nkwonta, Partner at Elias Law Group, to discuss his litigation efforts in the voting rights space, where he has employed cellphone metadata in litigation to quantify wait times at the polls.