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Ethical and Social Issues in Big Data Practice


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Authors: Rachel Finn, Anna Donovan and Kush Wadhwa
(Trilateral Research & Consulting, LLP)
Presented at BYTE WP2 Workshop Lyon, 11 Sept 2014

Published in: Technology
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Ethical and Social Issues in Big Data Practice

  1. 1. BYTE: Big data roadmap and cross-disciplinary community for addressing societal externalities Ethical and social issues in big data practice Rachel Finn, Anna Donovan and Kush Wadhwa Trilateral Research & Consulting, LLP BYTE WP2 Workshop Lyon, 11 Sept 2014
  2. 2. WP2: Elements of societal impact Task Description T2.1 Economic issues in big data T2.2 Legal issues in big data T2.3 Social and ethical issues in big data* T2.4 Political issues in big data T2.5 Public perceptions relevant to big data* T2.6 Open access to data T2.7 Validation workshop Task 2.3  D2.1 Task 2.5  D2.2 For information related to open access and big data (T2.6), please see D2.3 @BYTE_EU
  3. 3. Objectives To understand what potential social and ethical externalities exist relative to big data processing To offer informed conjecture as to what members of the public might expect in a big data environment @BYTE_EU
  4. 4. Methodology Both based on desk research / literature review ◦ Review of social and ethical issues focused on academic journal articles, research reports, media materials, etc. ◦ Review of public perceptions and aspirations focused on public opinion surveys ◦ E.g., Special Eurobarometer 359: Attitudes on Data Protection and Electronic Identity in the European Union 2012 ◦ Big Data: Public views on the Collection, Sharing and Use of Personal Data by Government and Companies 2014 ◦ Unisys Security Index: UK 2014 @BYTE_EU
  5. 5. Practices examined • Transparency • Profiling and tracking • Re-use / secondary use • Data access @BYTE_EU
  6. 6. Transparency Potential positive impacts ◦ Increased support for processing of data ◦ Information Commissioner’s Office (UK) – “Companies are asking… ‘should we do this with the data’?” ◦ Transparency may lead to greater trust, and more willingness to provide data Potential negative impacts ◦ Data sabatoge – “once actors realise that an institution is collecting data and looking for patterns, they can attempt to sabotage this by providing false information” ◦ A “chilling effect” – individuals restrain themselves from particular behaviours because they suspect that their activities are being monitored Unisys 2014 survey: 75% of British people will not shop or bank with people they cannot trust to safeguard their personal information @BYTE_EU
  7. 7. Profiling / tracking Potential positive impacts ◦ Trend identification ◦ Personalisation ◦ Efficiency Potential negative impacts ◦ Discrimination ◦ Objectification ◦ Exploitation ◦ Privacy infringement Eurobarometer Flash 225: What is personal data? Information about tastes and opinions (27%), nationality (26%), hobbies, sports and places visited (25%), and websites visited (25%). @BYTE_EU
  8. 8. Re-use / secondary use Potential positive impacts ◦ Use of “data exhaust” for innovation or to capture efficiencies ◦ Limits the need for costly duplication of recourses Potential negative impacts ◦ The “data gap” ◦ Extending “discriminatory” practices Eurobarometer 359: 34% of respondents were concerned that their information is being used without their knowledge and 23% were concerned about their information being used in different contexts from the ones that were disclosed to them @BYTE_EU
  9. 9. Data access Potential positive impacts ◦ Opening access to data can enable the linking of data sets to generate new insights ◦ Differential access may be appropriate in some circumstances Potential negative impacts ◦ Creation of a “digital hierarchy” ◦ Gender, race and class bias in those creating the digital models ◦ Potential privacy infringements when data sets are opened, linked and mined. Ipsos Mori 2014: 90% support the use of people’s data to help develop treatment for cancer, 75% support data being used to improve the scheduling of transport services, and 70% support data use to prevent crimes @BYTE_EU
  10. 10. QUESTIONS Any questions? Key contacts: ◦ Rachel Finn, ◦ Anna Donovan, Thank you @BYTE_EU