No Algorithmization Without Representation: Pilot Study on Regulatory Experiments in an Exploratory Sandbox

Denisa Reshef Kera, František Kalvas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The exploratory sandbox for blockchain services, Lithopy, provided an experimental alternative to the aspirational frameworks and guidelines regulating algorithmic services ex post or ex ante. To understand the possibilities and limits of this experimental approach, we compared the regulatory expectations in the sandbox with the real-life decisions about an “actual” intrusive service: contact tracing application. We gathered feedback on hypothetical and real intrusive services from a group of 59 participants before and during the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Czech Republic (January, June 2020, and April 2021). Participants expressed support for interventions based on an independent rather than government oversight that increases participation and representation. Instead of reducing the regulations to code or insisting on strong regulations over the code, participants demanded hybrid combinations of code and regulations. We discuss this as a demand for “no algorithmization without representation.” The intrusive services act as new algorithmic “territories,” where the “data” settlers must redefine their sovereignty and agency on new grounds. They refuse to rely upon the existing institutions and promises of governance by design and seek tools that enable engagement in the full cycle of the design, implementation, and evaluation of the services. The sandboxes provide an environment that bridges the democratic deficit in the design of algorithmic services and their regulations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Pages (from-to)8
Number of pages24
JournalDigital Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


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