Hoarder, Handler, Bricoleur, Spy: An Explication of Information Distribution Organisations

McNealy, Jasmine
Journal of International and Comparative Law

This article investigates and explicates the ways in which information distribution organisations (IDOs)—firms that play a significant role in the communication of information to information-or news-seeking audiences—create, use, distribute and store information. Over the past several decades, IDOs have become the subject of social, ethical and policy considerations. These firms shape how individuals get basic services, travel and interact with each other by using personal data. And it is what organisations do with data that has implications for users. This article groups IDOs based on how the firms interact with information into four categories: hoarder, handler, bricoleur and spy, using information processing theory, when used to model human cognition and explore the needs of information users, as a framework for category-building. These categories are useful for shaping how policymakers look to regulate and prohibit certain organisation– information interactions, as they look to the possible impacts of firm activity on individuals and communities.