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Olivier Sylvain
Olivier Sylvain

Fordham University Law School

When (ET)


Platform User Rights Are No Rights at All


Recent policy developments suggest that consumer sovereignty models of regulation have substantial, if not fatal, limitations. Binding decisions by the European Data Protection Board in 2023, as well as other recent public law enactments in the EU and the US, overtly reject the assumption that individuals are best situated to manage how companies process or use their personal information. Prevalent online practices are too opaque and the “take it or leave it” services that companies provide render individuals’ rights and commercial choices effectively meaningless. In short, the relative power of consumers as compared to the companies that collect, process, and monetize personal information belies the normative conceit that consumers are in fact sovereign.


Olivier is a Professor of Law at Fordham University. His research is in information and communications law and policy. His most recent writing, scholarship, and public speaking engagements are on liability under the Communications Decency Act, the social impacts of artificial intelligence and community-owned networked computing. The National Science Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation have awarded him grants to support this work. He currently holds an appointment as a Senior Advisor to the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission.

Olivier teaches Legislation and Regulation, Administrative Law, Information Law, U.S. Data Protection Law and Privacy, and information law related courses. At Fordham, he has been the Director of the McGannon Center for Communications Research, the Academic Director of the Center for Law and Information Policy, and a research affiliate at the Center on Race, Law, and Justice. Before entering academia, Olivier was a Karpatkin Fellow in the National Legal Office of the American Civil Liberties Union in New York City and a litigation associate at Jenner & Block, LLC, in Washington, D.C. Until September 2021, he was the Board President of the ACLU's New York affiliate and sat on the Academic Advisory Board for the Open Markets Institute and the Advisory Committee for the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative.

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