We are pleased to announce our first installment of the P&S Digital Speaker Series:
Punishment & Society CRN Digital Speaker Series
Thursday, January 18, 2:00-3:30 EST
(Instructions for watching the talk online forthcoming)
Sarah Lageson, Rutgers University
“Criminal Records as Big Data Commodity”
New forms of digital criminal record data collection and generous FOIA and First Amendment interpretations have allowed criminal records to transform into a valuable commodity. Data brokers aggressively pursue law enforcement, court, and correctional data, then repackage and sell it to a growing class of criminal record consumers. Taking a field approach, this study traces the development of relationships between criminal justice agencies and data brokers. Analyses of internal and public documents and interviews with data brokers show how this work is framed through cultural values of tech efficiency and transparency, and as a consumer friendly alternative to bureaucratic and inefficient government. By collating and synthesizing public records, these companies create markets of criminal record consumers and sell criminal record data as commodity. Ultimately, this wide scale embrace of open records by media and the courts have more firmly guided U.S. criminal record policy than due process, privacy and liberty values.