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The Normative Duty of Care - Bridging Rule of Law Imaginaries in Platform Governance

Speaker: Dr Marcelo Thompson,The University of Hong Kong

Moderator: Stephen Minas, Professor of Law, Peking University School of Transnational Law

Date & Time: March 13, 2024 (Wednesday), 7:00 PM (Beijing Time)

Location (In-person presentation): STL 301

Language: English


Platform governance in Western societies is marked by a growing tension between the imagined and the actual—a tension, that is, between what states do and what they imagine themselves to be doing when they regulate technological platforms. On the one hand, a liberal view of the ‘rule of law’ is taken to require that states avoid stepping into the moral domain, that they refrain from crossing the boundaries between the ‘right’ and the ‘good’. On the other hand, concerns with societal forms of harm enabled by technological platforms—from misinformation to dark patterns and manipulation—increasingly invite states into this very moral domain they purport to avoid.

This paper suggests that addressing global convergence challenges involving platform and data governance requires the identification of the more broadly normative role played by states and, indeed, by technological platforms in the regulation of the information environment. While emerging legal frameworks such as the EU’s Digital Services Act and UK’s Online Safety Act advance in affirming new duties of care for technological platforms, the normative underpinnings of such duties remain to be brought to the fore. Examining such duties in the light of China’s approach to Internet regulation might offer an important contribution in this regard.

Speaker's short Bio:

Dr Marcelo Thompson has been teaching and researching on law and technology at The University of Hong Kong for over a decade. He has been an Assistant Professor of Law, Deputy Director of the Law and Technology Centre, and is a Member of the Steering Committee of the Platform Governance Research Network and of the Program Committee of the ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency. Dr Thompson holds a Doctor of Philosophy from the Oxford Internet Institute, at the University of Oxford, and a Master of Laws (Law and Technology) from the University of Ottawa. His teaching and researchlie at the intersection between technology law and politics, with a focus on the regulation of technological platforms, privacy, data governance, and artificial intelligence.

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