On March 17, 2014, the Data & Society Research Institute, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and New York University’s Information Law Institute co-hosted “The Social, Cultural, & Ethical Dimensions of ‘Big Data.’“ The purpose of the event was to convene key stakeholders and thought leaders from across academia, government, industry, and civil society to examine the social, cultural, and ethical implications of “big data,” with an eye to both the challenges and opportunities presented by the phenomenon.
The event was one of three conferences that OSTP co-hosted with academic institutions across the country to examine key questions on the use of “big data” and the future of privacy. Other events included a conference organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Big Data Initiative at CSAIL, and the MIT Information Policy Project that focused on the technical aspects underpinning privacy (Advancing the State of the Art in Technology and Practice) and an event organized by the School of Information with the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology at University of California-Berkeley to explore the legal and policy issues raised by big data (Values and Governance). These were all part of efforts by the Obama Administration to review the implications of collecting, analyzing, and using massive or complex data sets for privacy, the economy, and public policy.
You can read a summary of the conference discussions here.
The discussions at our conference helped inform the White House’s report at the culmination of their 90-day review: Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values.
This conference was organized by danah boyd (Data & Society Research Institute / Microsoft Research) with help from Helen Nissenbaum (New York University), Geoffrey C. Bowker (University of California-Irvine), and Kate Crawford (Microsoft Research / MIT Center for Civic Media).
The Data & Society Research Institute acknowledges the generous gifts and institutional support of the following sponsors for making this event possible: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Ford Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Microsoft Research, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Outcomes from this event will help inform the anticipated National Science Foundation-supported Council on Social, Legal, and Ethical aspects of Big Data. These funds were not solicited or collected on behalf of the Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP), or the White House. Acknowledgment of a contributor by the Data & Society Research Institute does not constitute an endorsement by OSTP or the White House.