Problems for the working data subject with Dr Phoebe Moore

  • Date: 2 December 2021
  • Time: 11:30 am
  • Cost: Free
  • Venue: Online
Book via Eventbrite
A man using a laptop with the screen displaying information about GDPR

At this talk, Dr Phoebe Moore from Leicester University will be asking to what extent protections for the ‘data subject’ discussed by GDPR regulations are universally applicable.

Progress has been predicted by privacy activists for people who are also known as ‘data subjects’ by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) because we, as data subjects, technically have more rights to access and control data about ourselves. Indeed, the GDPR advances previous data and privacy protections significantly. However, there are several missing aspects in the debates about the emancipatory potentials of data sharing and ownership, which must be counterweighted with questions of privacy and data protection.

Dr Moore argues that there is not enough clear discussion about the data subject herself in intrinsic, ontological ways not only in recent regulation but in the every lives of (deep) mediatisation and digitalisation. The GDPR’s formal definition of the data subject about whom this regulation oscillates, refers to an ‘identifiable natural person’, but digging deeper leads us to see that the subject is referenced against two very different ‘selves’: one, a consumer; and two, a worker.

Dr Moore argues that these two identifiers cannot be conflated, given the extensive risks and even perhaps opposite social positions that workers and consumers possess. Personal and privacy protections relating to how data is gathered, processed, used, and stored should be carried out by data protection officers (DPOs), but these lines of communication about data usage occur inherently with different possible outcomes, risks, vulnerabilities, power relations and materialities with relation to a ‘consumer’ mode; or when someone is ‘at work’.

Data construction of subjects, subjectification and subjectivation must be interrogated and problematised and the question specifically asked: what happens to our subjectivities when data is used to formulate and portray specific profiles and portrayals of data subjects via profiling and other means? Is this a process of subject, or rather, object formation? Who are we ‘becoming’? Importantly, who now has the right to ‘enunciation’, or the right to formate the self, the right to subjectivity?

Dr Phoebe Moore, University of Leicester, is a globally recognised expert on digitalisation and resultant changes to workplaces/spaces and working conditions. She has given over 20 keynote talks in more than seven countries about the current context of and probable futures for work and workers given technological advancements. She has published several research agenda and policy impacting reports for several elite organisations where she systematically unveils the possible risks and benefits of digital work’s future, focussing on artificial intelligence, data privacy and protection, wearable technologies, platform work and safety and health.

She has appeared in, and had her research cited in, several media outlets including BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4, Financial Times, The Atlantic, WIRED, Biz Tech, Business Investors Daily, and more.

This talk will appeal to those interested in fields such as science and technology, organisation management, sociology and politics.

  • Date: 2 December 2021
  • Time: 11:30 am
  • Cost: Free
  • Venue: Online
Book via Eventbrite