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Data: the given

Humphreys, Stephen (2019) Data: the given. In: Hohmann, Jessie and Joyce, Daniel, (eds.) International Law's Objects. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. ISBN 9780198798200

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What is data, and how does it matter for international law? This chapter examines the material nature of the binary digit—the bit—to show three characteristics that mark it out as an object of governance. First, data as ‘thing’ must be distinguished from data as ‘medium’. Second, bits make everything countable. Third, with digitalisation, there is no avoiding manipulation—there is no ‘authentic’ original: the technology has no unmediated state. Bits turn out to be an extraordinarily versatile referential technology, whose very ease of creation, storage, and reproducibility encourages proliferation while blurring the distinction between things (‘objects’) and facts (‘knowledge’). The chapter then turns to a principal material means by which data today cross borders: transoceanic cables. Overall, the chapter addresses the novel concerns contemporary material forms of data production and storage raise for international legal subjectivity and jurisdiction.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Oxford University Press
Divisions: Law
Subjects: J Political Science > JX International law
K Law > KD England and Wales
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2018 14:39
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 05:50

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