Gianmarco Cristofari

Gianmarco Cristofari is a postdoctoral research fellow in philosophy of law at the University of Palermo, Italy, within the research project “EquAl: Equitable Algorithms, Promoting Fairness and Countering Algorithmic Discrimination Through Norms and Technologies”, where he works on the role of AI and digital platforms in the discrimination of asylum seekers. Gianmarco holds a law degree from the University of Trento and a Ph.D. cum laude in ‘Global Studies’ from the University of Macerata. His thesis, entitled “Platformization in the EU: Politico-Legal Challenges of Platforms as Infrastructures”, explored the challenges brought by the growing infrastructural and institutional role of digital platforms in the European Union. Gianmarco was visiting researcher at the Institute of Information Law (Ivir) in Amsterdam, where he published “The Politics of Platformization: Amsterdam Dialogues on Platform Theory”, a book investigating the spread of the platform model of governance in several societal systems. As a practitioner, Gianmarco worked as a data protection consultant in Rome and as labor lawyer in Vicenza and has been admitted to Bar. As an Emile Noël Fellow, Gianmarco will work on his monography on legal theory and platformization and on AI and discrimination.


Research Project

The boundaries of the legal system. Assessing the constitutional legitimacy of platform institutionalization in the EU. Over the last twenty years, the relationship between governance and fundamental rights protection has been drastically changing because of the advancement in computational technologies, to the extent that nowadays most of the activities in the life of Western citizens are organized and synchronized in space and time via digital platforms. The digital platform can be considered as new way of organizing centrally controllable markets by a centralized entity within the ‘Market’. Several of such platforms are acting as essential infrastructures at planetary scale and they have become integral to the organization of societal systems. Against this background, the European Union has actively engaged in regulating digital platforms, introducing, among others, innovative legislations like the Digital Market Act (DMA) and Digital Service Act (DSA). While these regulations are commendable, they give rise to a series of limitations and paradoxes: the ‘paradox of platform institutionalization’ lies in the fact that the application of the law becomes increasingly dependent on existing private infrastructures. Another challenge lies in the fact that the legitimacy of infrastructural governance remains largely outside traditional judicial mechanisms. This project seeks to explore the boundaries between the legal and political system to evaluate the legitimacy of governance by infrastructure within the emerging framework of 'digital constitutionalism'. Although lacking normative coherence, digital constitutionalism extends the discourse of global constitutionalism by endeavoring to constitutionalize the private sector and platform ecosystem as an independent legal order. The quest to design a paradoxical form for counterbalancing powers is mainly of constitutional nature because both legal and political at once, requiring a change into the internal structures of the legal system and potential changes at the level of European institutions.