Creating Digital Rule of Law

This mosaic design is Copyright © 2011 Kaamar Ltd, based on an original photograph Statue of Liberty by pbutke under CC BY 2.0 license

Part 1 of 3 — Smart Data & Digital Rule of Law Series:

  1. Part 1: Creating Digital Rule of Law
  2. Part 2: Smart Data — A Brief Timeline of Intelligent Technology
  3. Part 3: Open Source Architecture for Smart Data and Digital Rights

What is Rule of Law?

Digital & Data Lawlessness

After 30 years of commercial Internet development, we’ve created a global digital marketplace guided and powered by capitalist free-market ideas but paradoxically paired with lawless data flows. Early Internet pioneers understood the seriousness of this problem. Between 1997 and 2011, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) worked collaboratively through many interrelated efforts to create control architectures for our shared data. Despite this extended effort, we did not adopt any standard that coupled our data with digital contracts that constrain data usage.

Digital Capitalism Requires Digital Rule of Law

Creating and sustaining a market economy as a free people and free society requires upholding The Rule of Law. A digital market economy requires Digital Rule of Law.

Defining Digital Rule of Law

Digital Rule of Law extends the ideas of Rule of Law into our digital landscape. Let’s explore what this might look like:

  1. Digital Rule of Law is a set of principles, or ideals, for ensuring an orderly and just digital society. Where all laws and contracts apply to everyone equally and automatically, there are clear and fair automated processes for enforcing laws and contracts, there is an independent judiciary, and human digital rights are guaranteed for all.

Unadopted Internet Standards Efforts

Most people think we cannot control our data after it’s been shared. This is because Big-tech, which funds academic institutions that then run our most important standards bodies, interfered with creators of the Internet working on standards to bind digital contracts to data. Not because binding digital contracts to data “cannot be done”, but because Big-tech “doesn’t want it to be done”.

Platform for Privacy Preferences (1997 to 2006):

Policy Aware Web (2005 to 2006):

As early as 2005, there were the beginnings of a workable solution. The Policy Aware Web (PAW) project would have provided for the publication of declarative access policies providing greater control over information sharing by information owners by employing rule-based discretionary access control.

Transparent Accountable Datamining Initiative (2006 to 2011):

The TAMI Project attempted to create the technical, legal, and policy foundations for transparency and accountability in large-scale aggregation and inferencing across heterogeneous information systems. The project could have provided precise rule languages or contracts that could have expressed policy constraints and reasoning engines that were able to describe the results they produce. [5 Transparent Accountable Datamining Initiative]

  1. We see policies generalized to include contracts and regulations with “The Law Cloud.”
  2. We see data from the entire web formed in the scope of policy controls.
  3. We’ve added the proof explanation for auditors and an intended use reasoner for analysts mirroring early GDPR thinking around intended use enforcement.

The EnCoRe Project — Ensuring Consent and Revocation (2009 to 2011):

In parallel, another group was tackling the technology standards to control data as it moves between organizations.

What’s The Deal With 2011?

By 2011 all of these standardization efforts ended, without being adopted, many in the same year. A decade of focused work on multiple data control technologies by early Internet thought leaders who predicted our future, who explained the risks clearly at that time, and who worked extensively to mitigate these risks — all end without adoption in 2011.

  1. Social Platforms — Facebook’s initial public offering came on May 17, 2012, at a share price of US$38. The company was valued at $104 billion, the most significant valuation to that date. The IPO raised $16 billion, the third-largest in U.S. history. [8 Facebook]
  2. The AI Arms Race will be won by the few organizations who successfully monopolize the most data over the most time. The race for AI Supremacy was well understood by 2011, fueled by the convergence of “Big-Data” and “Cloud Computing”.
  3. By 2017, the Economist published a report titled “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data,” formally announcing the rise and near-total dominance of the modern Data Monopoly. [9 The Economist]

The Consequences are Everywhere

Because we’re missing technology standards to control the uses of our data, by 2023 Gartner predicts that the individual activities of 40% of the global population will be tracked digitally to influence our beliefs and our behaviors. That’s more than 3 billion people who are being targeted for the gradual alteration of their beliefs and behaviors without their awareness or consent.

Global Democracy at Risk

Without the foundation of Digital Rule of Law, we will remain paralyzed in the current data lawlessness paradigm. Director Shalini Kantayya discusses in her new film ‘Coded Bias’ shedding light on the urgent threats machine learning, and intelligent technology poses to individual freedoms and democracy, concluding:

Controlling Data May Be The Only Solution

An international group of researchers warned of the potential risks of creating overly powerful and standalone software. Using a series of theoretical calculations, the scientists explored how artificial intelligence could be kept in check. According to the study published by the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research titled Superintelligence Cannot be Contained: Lessons from Computability Theory, they concluded it was impossible.

What’s Next?

The next two articles explore programmatic themes in technology over the last two decades culminating with the idea of Smart Everything. This shows us a number of interesting repeatable themes that apply to Smart Data. Our final article proposes a high-level architecture within which we can begin to create Digital Rule of Law as an essential foundation for a free digital society.

Want to help?

  1. Join the Smart Data Ecosystem and help create Digital Rule of Law to preserve all human rights.
  2. Follow Data Freedom Foundation and Accesr on social media and follow me on Medium. Data Freedom Foundation is on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Accesr is on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
  3. Contact us to get involved — we have many open roles and stock options for early supporters.

Part 1 of 3 — Smart Data & Digital Rule of Law Series:

  1. Part 1: Creating Digital Rule of Law
  2. Part 2: Smart Data — A Brief Timeline of Intelligent Technology
  3. Part 3: Open Source Architecture for Smart Data and Digital Rights


  1. Renew Democracy Initiative, Defining Democracy and Rule of Law
  2. Penn State Law, International Rule of Law and the Market Economy,of%20the%20quality%20of%20life.
  3. P3P: The Platform for Privacy Preferences
  4. Policy Aware Web
  5. Transparent Accountable Datamining Initiative
  6. Privacy Enhancing Technologies, A Review of Tools and Techniques
  7. Gartner, Gartner Unveils Top Predictions for IT Organizations
  8. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  9. Facebook
  10. The Economist, The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data
  11. Aldous Huxley, The Ultimate Revolution ‘Brave New World’ (Berkeley Speech 1962)
  12. Accesr Commentary of Google’s Selfish Ledger Video,
  13. American Bar Association, What is the Rule of Law?
  14. Shalini Kantayya, Director of ‘Coded Bias’
  15. Regulate Social Media or Risk ‘Democracy’s End’ Researchers Tell Senators
  16. Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, Superintelligence Cannot be Contained: Lessons from Computability Theory



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Alan Rodriguez

Alan Rodriguez


Startup Founder, Inventor, Product Leader, Digital Hunter & Marketer, Data & Privacy Renegade, Philosopher, Digital Humanist