What happens when our past becomes indelibly fixed in the online databases that shape our digital identities? Is there ever escape from the internet’s permanent memory for our blemishes and increasingly public misfortunes? Sarah Lageson studies the serious social ramifications and new forms of “digital punishment” meted out by the growth of online crime data. On today’s episode she discusses this topic, the focus of her forthcoming book, Digital Punishment – Uses and Abuses of Criminal Records in the Big Data Age. Her work looks at the way bias and errors in the criminal justice system become embedded within these digital records and how this is exploited by private data brokers. Lageson and Rushkoff then turn to the very human question of how we should treat each other in a society where every mistake or brush with the law becomes glued to our digital identity. At the very least, it’s a future where we’re going to have to cut each other a little slack.
Sarah is an Assistant Professor at the Rutgers University-Newark School of Criminal Justice. She studies public access to criminal justice data, error in criminal record databases, and associated issues with punishment, Constitutional rights, and inequality. Sarah’s current research examines the growth of online crime data that remains publicly available, creating new forms of “digital punishment.”
Learn more about Sarah at sarahlageson.com
Douglas opens the show with a monologue about the gamification of social good on Wall Street. Can the market be coaxed into rewarding social good over exploitation? Or are funds such as the new ETF,“JUST capital” a mere ploy to make investors feel good while exacerbating the problem of inequality?
Today’s show was produced in the Laboratory for Digital Humanism at CUNY Queens College. Special thanks to community organizer Josh Chapedelaine who helped facilitate this recording.
On this episode you heard Fugazi’s “Foreman’s Dog” in the intro, Herkhimer Diamonds “Xmas Underwater” followed by “Walkabout” from Episode 67 guest, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge‘s Throbbing Gristle plus “Sparlky Eyes” by Episode 68 Guest Stacco Troncoso. Our closing music is thanks to Mike Watt.