Event: Rethinking Citizenship and Movement in the Age of Digital Disruption.  Hosted by Max Planck Law in a new collaboration with the University of Toronto’s Harney Program (Directed by Professor Ayelet Shachar) based at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy.

Automated decision-making, big data, and biometrics are disrupting patterns of population governance. Within their borders, governments turn to digital identity technologies and AI to allocate services and welfare assistance while ensuring only those with a legitimate claim accede to state support. At the border, the e-passport, embedded with its bearer’s physiological features, is becoming the key to the bolted gates of admission to some for the most coveted global destinations. As vaccination for COVID-19 intensifies — in mostly rich countries — the vaccination  passport could come to play a similar role. In all these contexts, justifications for the growing use of digital technologies rest on risk mitigation and efficiency. Yet the asserted benefits of deploying digital technologies to identify, monitor, and track individuals and populations must be evaluated and balanced against their potentially detrimental effects. The panel Rethinking Citizenship and Movement in the Age of Digital Disruption will explore the legal, social, and ethical impacts of digital and biometric technologies on border enforcement and pandemic management, placing these developments in a broader theoretical and critical framework.


Louise Amoore

Louise Amoore is Professor of Political Geography in the Department of Geography, Durham University, UK. She works on the politics of algorithms, the geopolitics of technology, biometric futures, and the ethics of machine learning systems. She currently holds an ERC Advanced Investigator grant for work on ‘Algorithmic Societies: Ethical Life in the Machine Learning Age’ (2020-25). Her book, Cloud Ethics: Algorithms and the Attributes of Ourselves and Others (Duke University Press, 2020), examines algorithms as ethico-political entities that are entangled with the data attributes of people, and locates the ethics of algorithms in the partiality and opacity that haunt both human and algorithmic decisions.  In her earlier work, including her book The Politics of Possibility: Risk and Security Beyond Probability (Duke University Press, 2013), Louise traces how probability and statistical calculation are reframed through algorithmic possibilities and new security calculations. Her research has been funded by the ESRC, EPSRC, AHRC, Leverhulme Trust, and British Academy. Louise is excited to lead the new ALGOSOC team and to open up new potentials in the ethics of algorithmic societies. 

Roger Brownsword

Roger Brownsword holds professorial positions in Law at King’s College London (where he is Director of TELOS) and at Bournemouth University, he is an honorary Professor in Law at the University of Sheffield, and he is currently a visiting professor at City University Hong Kong. He co-edited both the Cambridge Handbook on Human Dignity (2014) and the Oxford Handbook on Law, Regulation and Technology (2017), and his many publications include Contract Law: Themes for the Twenty-First Century (OUP, 2006), Rights, Regulation and the Technological Revolution (OUP, 2008), Law, Technology and Society: Re-imagining the Regulatory Environment (Routledge, 2019) and Law 3.0: Rules, Regulation and Technology (Routledge, 2020). His latest book, Rethinking Law, Regulation and Technology is due for publication in 2022. He is the founding general editor (with Han Somsen) of Law, Innovation and Technology as well as being on the editorial board of international journals, including the Modern Law Review; and, in addition to serving as a specialist adviser to parliamentary committees, he has been a member of various working parties, most recently the Royal Society Working Party on Machine Learning.

Mirca Madianou

Mirca Madianou is Reader in the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her current research focuses on the social consequences of communication technologies, data and automation in the global south especially in relation to migration and humanitarian emergencies. She is the author ofMediating the Nation: news, audiences and the politics of identity and Migration and New Media: transnational families and polymedia (with Daniel Miller).


Ayelet Shachar (Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy)

13 July 2021, 9:00 New York, 14:00 London, 15.00 Frankfurt (CEST), 23:00 Sydney 

15:00 CEST  Welcome
15:15 Louise Amoore
15:30  Roger Brownsword
15:45  Mirca Madianou
16:00 Discusion
17:00  Closing