The Digital Rear Window : Epistemologies of Digital Transparency

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Koivisto , I 2021 , ' The Digital Rear Window : Epistemologies of Digital Transparency ' , Critical Analysis of Law , vol. 8 , no. 1 , pp. 64-80 .

Title: The Digital Rear Window : Epistemologies of Digital Transparency
Author: Koivisto, Ida
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law
Date: 2021-04-03
Number of pages: 17
Belongs to series: Critical Analysis of Law
ISSN: 2291-9732
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/328817
Abstract: In this essay, I discuss digital reality production and transparency’s role in it. I argue that the promise of transparency—the visual access to objective reality which further enables necessary democratic action—is jeopardized in the digital environment. I analyze some of the reasons for this. First, transparency is no longer an issue that is clearly defined by law, and it increasingly works as an ambiguous normative concept. As such, its scope is unclear. Second, the structural qualities of transparency as a metaphor and as a medium reveal the limits of transparency to portray reality on a theoretical level. Third, the way in which transparency discourse participates in digital reality production makes it even more difficult to decipher the “ground truth,” if indeed, there is one. Because digital transparency builds on a twofold mediation of reality—transparency as a medium itself and algorithms as a medium of digital transparency—seeing with one’s own eyes no longer guarantees a privileged access to reality. I conclude that although transparency is traditionally seen as one of the best tools of democracy, along with the emergence of individualized digital realities and the decline of a shared understanding of truth, the truth-transparency nexus may be unraveling.
Subject: 513 Law
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