Thursday, January 27, 2022

ISP Launches Digital Public Sphere White Paper Series

ISP digital public sphere image

The Information Society Project (ISP) at Yale Law School announced the launch of its Digital Public Sphere White Paper Series on Jan. 27, 2022. The series will explore critical issues related to technology and the public sphere, and the effects of digital platforms on democracy and information governance.

“We are grateful to the Knight Foundation for their generous support in promoting important research,” said Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack M. Balkin, the ISP’s Director. “This white paper series is one part of our efforts at understanding the transformative effects of the digital public sphere.”

“The impacts of online platforms and new technology on public discourse, equality, and the law are among the most pressing and consequential issues democracies face today,” said Adam Posluns and Elettra Bietti, the editors of the series. “We are very excited to be working with Jack Balkin and Nikolas Guggenberger, Executive Director of the ISP, to develop this series.”

“Issues and controversies about who gets to participate and who is excluded from these forums, and how public discourse and social relations have been altered by the platform economy arise on a daily basis,” said Posluns, a resident fellow at the ISP. “The series is a great opportunity to examine these problems in depth, but also in a way that is accessible to a wide audience.”

“This series fills a real gap in the literature, adding a range of much needed perspectives on the role of gender, race, and other characteristics in debates about privacy, speech, and digital democracy,” added Bietti, a visiting fellow at the ISP. “The ISP is an ideal place to bring these voices together and generate new conversations about how to govern information flows.”

“The Digital Public Square Series catalyzes exactly the kind of fresh, normative thinking so urgently needed today,” said John Sands, Senior Director/Media and Democracy at the Knight Foundation. “Knight is proud to support ISP’s efforts to animate the public conversation about our digital public square.”

The first Collection of papers, “Envisioning Equitable Online Governance,” was published in collaboration with and thanks to the editorial work of the Yale Law Journal Forum. The Collection examines how inequality manifests on social media platforms and in the digital public sphere. Essays analyze how race, gender and other facets of identity shape people’s experience of and access to the digital public sphere and explore the harms minority groups suffer in these spaces. Several Essays chart paths for legislative reform. The Collection’s authors include Anita Allen, Khiara Bridges, Mary Anne Franks, Scott Skinner-Thompson, and Olivier Sylvain.

“The Journal was delighted to work with the ISP on this important Collection,” said Rachel Sommers ’22, Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal. “Thank you also to Roman Leal ’22, Noelle Wyman ’22, Josh Altman ’22, Sammy Bensinger ’22, and the rest of the Yale Law Journal Forum team without whom this would not have been possible.”

The Information Society Project is an intellectual center at Yale Law School. It supports a community of interdisciplinary scholars who explore issues at the intersection of law, technology, and society.