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A feminist Critique to digital consent

Carmi, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-1108-2075 (2021). A feminist Critique to digital consent., 17(2), doi: 10.7577/seminar.4291


This paper presents a feminist critique to digital consent and argues that the current system is flawed. The online surveillance adtech industry that funds the web had to use a mechanism that commodifies people, rendering their behaviors into data - products that can be sold and traded for the highest bidder. This was made possible by objectifying, dehumanizing and decontextualizing human engagement and identity into measurable and quantifiable data units. In this way, digital consent serves as an authorizing and legalizing instrument to the business model of spying, selling and trading people in the online ecosystem. Using four key feminist approaches - process, embodiment, network and context - this article shows the way digital consent is a mechanism that transfers responsibility to people and enables an exploitative-extractivist market to exist. The design of digital consent creates a specific interface that teaches people to behave in ways that preserve the asymmetric power relations. Consequently, the article shows the broader educational effects of digital consent which conceives people as products with narrow agency and understanding of what they can do, think and imagine. The article concludes with a refusal to provide an easy solution to a flawed system.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright (c) 2021 Elinor Carmi. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Publisher Keywords: Digital consent, feminist, surveillance capitalism, Network, Process, Embodiment, Context, Digital Advertising
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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