eLaw is thrilled to let you know that on April 29th (17:00-19:00), we will be hosting Prof. Luciano Floridi, Prof. Brett Frischmann, Prof. Shoshana Zuboff (these are STELLAR guests) on the online (zoom) panel discussion with the question – Should online targeted advertisement be banned on the premise that it violates human dignity?
Scholars from various disciplines claim that online targeted advertising – the primary source of wealth accumulation for companies such as Google and Facebook – is based on an economic logic that instrumentalizes human beings as the means to someone else’s financial (and political) gain. It uses the users, exploits their vulnerabilities, and manipulates them for the highest bidder’s benefit. Human dignity on the other hand molds together two assumptions: 1) species homo sapiens possesses valuable uniqueness that is unlike the uniqueness of any other species on earth (dignity of species); and 2) the dignity of every individual is equal to that of every other – every human being has a status equal to that of all others (individual dignity).
The most prevalent justification of such “uniqueness” in the legal domain has been Kantian “autonomy.” As the reaction to instrumentalization and objectification of human beings in the Totalitarian regimes of Stalin and Hitler, the recognition of a human being as an end – an independent moral agent – was taken as the axiomatic premise for the human rights framework in 1948. Since then, this premise, expressed in the notion of human dignity, grounds human rights and the rule of law and democracy – three pillars of Western political liberalism. The panel discussion will address if online targeted advertising violates the legal concept of human dignity.