Across the United States and Europe, the act of clicking “I have read and agree” to terms of service is the central legitimating device for global tech platforms’ data-driven activities. In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation has recently come into force, introducing stringent new criteria for consent and stronger protections for individuals. Yet the entrenched long-term focus on users’ control and consent fails to protect consumers who face increasingly intrusive data collection practices.
Elettra Bietti is a doctoral candidate at Harvard Law School studying the governance of information gatekeepers. She is also a Kennedy-Sinclair Scholar and an affiliate of the Berkman-Klein Center. She is currently based at Cambridge University and collaborates with Privacy International. Previously, she was an antitrust and intellectual property lawyer in London and Brussels. She is admitted to practice law in New York and England.
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