TU Wien Informatics

The Platform Economy and Europe: Between Regulation and Digital Geopolitics

  • By Claudia Vitt (edt.)
  • 2021-05-18
  • Public Lecture
  • Social Responsibility

Cristiano Codagnone explains why platforms are not simply technological corporations but a form of quasi-infrastructure.

The Platform Economy and Europe: Between Regulation and Digital Geopolitics

  • This is an online-only event.
    See description for details.

The Platform Economy and Europe: Between Regulation and Digital Geopolitics: Cristiano Codagnone (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya | Università degli studi di Milano)

Moderator: Paul Timmers (Oxford University, UK | European University, Cyprus)


Platforms represent a new structure for organising economic and social activities and appear as a hybrid between a market and a hierarchy. They are matchmakers like traditional markets, but they are also companies heavy in assets and often quoted in the stock exchange. Platforms, therefore, are not simply technological corporations but a form of ‘quasi-infrastructure’. Indeed, in their coordination function, platforms are as much an institutional form as a means of innovation.

Ever since the launch of the Digital Single Market in 2015, platforms have gone under the radar of the EU for different matters such as consumer protection in general, competition, and lately data protection. In addition to genuine policy concerns, the debate on platforms and on other digital transformation phenomena have gained higher political status in the form of the debate on digital and data sovereignty of Europe vis a vis the US and China. Platforms have also managed for some time to get away with regulation, adopting a lobbying based on rhetorical framing. This has been revived during the Pandemic when dominant platforms extolled their data provided to government as an important tool to track and contain the spread of the virus.

In this seminar, besides discussing this more high level issue, Cristiano Codagnone will also address more specific ones such as data protection, extraction of behavioral surplus, consumer protection, and competition issues. He concludes by comparing two different regulatory approaches: the application of the precautionary principle as opposed to a cost-benefit assessment of intervention.

Online Event

To participate, go to the following link, Password: 0dzqxqiy.

All talks will be streamed and recorded on the Digital Humanism YouTube channel. For announcements and slides see the website.

About the Series

Digital humanism deals with the complex relationship between man and machine. It acknowledges the potential of Informatics and IT. At the same time, it points to related apparent threats such as privacy violations, ethical concerns with AI, automation, and loss of jobs, and the ongoing monopolization on the Web. The Corona crisis has shown these two faces of the accelerated digitalization—we are in a crucial moment in time.

For this reason, we started a new initiative—DIGHUM lectures—with regular online events to discuss the different aspects of Digital Humanism. We will have a speaker on a specific topic (30 minutes) followed by a discussion of 30 minutes every second Tuesday of each month at 5:00 PM CEST. This crisis does seriously affect our mobility, but it also offers the possibility to participate in events from all over the world—let’s take this chance to meet virtually.

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