Platform Cooperativism Resource Library


In recent years, critical scholarship has drawn attention to increasing power differentials between corporations that use data and people whose data is used. A growing number of scholars see digital data and information commons as a way to counteract this asymmetry. In this paper I raise two concerns with this argument: First, because digital data and information can be in more than one place at once, governance models for physical common-pool resources cannot be easily transposed to digital commons. Second, not all data and information commons are suitable to address power differentials. In order to create digital commons that effectively address power asymmetries we must pay more systematic attention to the issue of exclusion from digital data and information commons. Why and how digital data and information commons exclude, and what the consequences of such exclusion are, decide whether commons can change power asymmetries or whether they are more likely to perpetuate them.

Added January 29, 2021