The Commercialization of Decision-Making: Towards a Regulatory Framework to Address Machine Bias over the Internet

Ghosh, Dipayan

The consumer internet has exacerbated the discrimination problem. The business model that sits behind the front end of the internet industry is one that focuses on the unchecked collection of personal information, the continual creation and refinement of behavioral profiles on the individual user, and the development of algorithms that curate content. These actions all perpetuate the new pareto optimal reality of the commercial logic underlying the modern digitalized media ecosystem: that every act executed by a firm, whether a transfer of data or an injection of content, is by its nature necessarily done in the commercial interests of the firm because technological progress has enabled such granular profiteering. This novelty in the media markets has created a tension in the face of the public motive for nondiscriminatory policies; where adequate transparency, public accountability, or regulatory engagement against industry practices are lacking, it is directly in the firm’s interest to discriminate should discriminatory economic policies suit its profitmaximizing motive. This paper discusses this technological development and offers policy responses to counteract these breaches against the subjects of internet-based discrimination.