I’ve tended to see the role of data science in governance as being implicitly threatening, tightening the net of surveillance in areas like crime and security. But reading Intern Nation, I was struck by the other side of this picture.
Here’s a practical problem: the United States Department of Labour has been chronically underfunded and struggles to actively intervene in cases of illegal and abusive internships, instead relegating itself to being the arbiter of last resort. One solution would be to massively expand the agency, something unlikely to be feasible in the present climate. The other would be to radically transform their methods, continually scraping jobs listings for anything resembling an ‘internship’, identifying red flags and automatically contacting the organisation in question to query the status of the role, with a threat of potential enforcement in the event of an inadequate response.