ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

New Scholarship from Your Blog Editors

Nancy_kim TelmanOne of the great pleasures of working on the blog is the opportunity to have virtual colleagues as a subject-matter specific supplement to one's local colleagues.  I have for many years admired Nancy Kim's scholarship, and she has been for me, a sounding board and a gateway for entering into the scholarship on electronic contracting, with an especial focus on wrap contracts.  

Now, I am happy to announce that we have collaborated on an article, "Internet Giants as Quasi-Governmental Actors and the Limits of Contractual Consent."  The article is forthcoming with the Missouri Law Review and available in draft on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Although the government’s data-mining program relied heavily on information and technology that the government received from private companies, relatively little of the public outrage generated by Edward Snowden’s revelations was directed at those private companies. We argue that the myth of contractual consent muted criticisms that otherwise might be directed at the real data-mining masterminds. By clicking “agree,” consumers are deemed to have consented to the use of their private information in ways that they would not agree to had they known the purposes to which their information would be put and the entities (including the federal government) with whom their information would be shared. We also question the distinction between governmental actors and private actors in this realm, as the Internet giants increasingly exploit contractual mechanisms to operate with quasi-governmental powers in their relations with consumers. We propose that, in their efforts to better protect consumer data, regulators and policymakers should demand more than mere contractual consent as an indicator of consumers’ grant of permission for the use of their data.

Here is a short (2 minute) video of me discussing the article:

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True that any grant or scholarship is a way to encourage law students. Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers more than 20 stipends for international students, including exchange students and part-time assistants.

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