Frank Pasquale, Reputation Regulation: Disclosure and the Challenge of Clandestinely Commensurating Computing
Comment by: Tal Zarsky
Workshop draft abstract:
Reputational systems can never be rendered completely just, but legislators can take two steps toward fairness. The first is relatively straightforward: to assure that key decision makers reveal the full range of online sources they consult as they approve or deny applications for credit, insurance, employment, and college and graduate school admissions. Such disclosure will at least serve to warn applicants of the dynamic digital dossier they are accumulating in cyberspace. Effective disclosure requirements need to cover more than the users of reputational information—they should also apply to some aggregators as well. Just as banks have moved from consideration of a long-form credit report to use of a single commensurating credit score, employers and educators in an age of reputation regulation may turn to intermediaries which that combine extant indicators of reputation into a single scoring of a person. Since such scoring can be characterized as a trade secret, it may be even less accountable than the sorts of rumors and innuendo discussed above. Any proposed legislation will need to address the use of such reputation scores, lest black- box evaluations defeat its broader purposes of accountability and transparency.