Cover of Data Cartels by Sarah Lamdan
Data Cartels
The Companies That Control and Monopolize Our Information
Sarah Lamdan


November 2022
224 pages.
from $26.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503615076
Paperback ISBN: 9781503633711
Ebook ISBN: 9781503633728

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Excerpts and More

In our digital world, data is power. Information hoarding businesses reign supreme, using intimidation, aggression, and force to maintain influence and control. Sarah Lamdan brings us into the unregulated underworld of these "data cartels", demonstrating how the entities mining, commodifying, and selling our data and informational resources perpetuate social inequalities and threaten the democratic sharing of knowledge.

Just a few companies dominate most of our critical informational resources. Often self-identifying as "data analytics" or "business solutions" operations, they supply the digital lifeblood that flows through the circulatory system of the internet. With their control over data, they can prevent the free flow of information, masterfully exploiting outdated information and privacy laws and curating online information in a way that amplifies digital racism and targets marginalized communities. They can also distribute private information to predatory entities. Alarmingly, everything they're doing is perfectly legal.

In this book, Lamdan contends that privatization and tech exceptionalism have prevented us from creating effective legal regulation. This in turn has allowed oversized information oligopolies to coalesce. In addition to specific legal and market-based solutions, Lamdan calls for treating information like a public good and creating digital infrastructure that supports our democratic ideals.

About the author

Sarah Lamdan is Professor of Law at the City University of New York School of Law. She also serves as a Senior Fellow for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, a Fellow at NYU School of Law's Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy.

"Lamdan offers a timely, ambitious, and original contribution about a set of issues that are of vital importance to the study of technology, law, and society."

—Anil Kalhan, Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law

"Powerful and a great read! This book definitely stirs the pot."

—Nicole Dyszlewski, Roger Williams University School of Law

"From scientific information to legal information to massive dossiers on each and every one of us and more, Sarah Lamdan's beautifully researched book delves into the shadowy world of big data. A fascinating read!"

—Carl Malamud,

"Lamdan's research is solid. Her book would be a nice addition to both large academic and legal libraries."

—Michael Sawyer, Library Journal

"Having been involved in efforts to raise awareness of the impacts of data brokers over the past decade, I appreciate Lamdan's hopeful stance that it is not too late to reverse course and create a better world. Her rhetoric is powerful, her writing colourful and her critique vigorous."

—Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Nature