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Accepted Paper:

From KYC to KYD: Thinking through the Powers of RegTech, Compliance and the Private Intelligence Industry  
Tereza Østbø Kuldova (OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University)

Paper short abstract:

Grounded in digital ethnography of the RegTech and compliance industry, as well as interviews with compliance officers and other experts, this paper aims to open up a critical discussion of the increasing and yet often expertly hidden power of compliance, now enhanced by data analytics.

Paper long abstract:

The RegTech (regulatory technologies) industry sells an AI-powered paradigm shift: from KYC (know your customer) to KYD (know your data) – be it in the name of enhanced due diligence, insider threat management, anti-money laundering, anti-corruption, or risk mitigation in supply chains. But what does “knowing your data” mean within the logic of compliance (as governance)? And what consequences, intended and unintended does it have? This paper sheds light on the recent growth of the RegTech industry at the intersection of compliance, private intelligence and tech, arguing that it is high time we pay critical attention to this industry. After all, it is transforming the ways in which workers, suppliers, supply chains, and customers are governed. RegTech data-driven and ‘AI-powered’ solutions for monitoring, surveillance, auditing, risk assessments and prediction, threat detection, (semi-)automated decision making, originally developed for highly regulated industries such as finance, are spreading rapidly into other industries, reshaping the algorithmic architectures of governance across organizations and sectors. RegTechs are typically informed by (behavioural) economics, psychometrics, theories of ‘counterproductive work behaviour’ and the logics of audit and risk, while utilizing diverse techniques of profiling and forensics imported from (predictive) policing and intelligence work (the industry being populated by former police and intelligence officers). Only when we theorize RegTech within the framework of privatization and pluralization of policing, the ‘criminalization’ of compliance and the logic of technosolutionism, can we understand what is at stake in predictive data-driven criminalized compliance as governance. Are algorithmic injustices and brutalization lurking behind seamless compliance?

Panel P42a
Managed by the machine: AI and the new politics of supply chains
  Session 1 Wednesday 8 June, 2022, -