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Internet Ethics: Views From Silicon Valley

Big Data

Big Data

Readings in Big Data Ethics

Irina Raicu is the director of the Internet Ethics program at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.  Views are her own.
Increasingly, we hear the term “big data ethics”—often in articles that highlight various ways in which current big-data-related practices (collection, analysis, sharing, selling, use for predictive purposes, etc.) are problematic. Below is a collection of readings that address those issues (most recently updated on 10/10/2017: three new selections now appear at the end of the list). While it is by no means exhaustive, we hope it will provide a useful starting point for conversations about big data ethics.
If you would like to suggest further additions to this list, please email them to, or tweet them to @IEthics. Thank you!
What's Up With Big Data Ethics?
By Jonathan H. King and Neil M. Richards
What Big Data Needs: A Code of Ethical Practices
By Jeffrey F. Rayport
Big Data Is Our Generation’s Civil Rights Issue, and We Don’t Know It
By Alistair Croll
Injustice In, Injustice Out: Social Privilege in the Creation of Data
By Jeffrey Alan Johnson
Big Data and Its Exclusions
By Jonas Lerman
Big Data Are Made by (And Not Just a Resource for) Social Science and Policy-Making
By Solon Barocas
Big Data, Big Questions: Metaphors of Big Data
By Cornelius Puschmann and Jean Burgess
View from Nowhere: On the cultural ideology of big data
By Nathan Jurgenson
Big Data, Small Politics [podcast]
By Evgeny Morozov
The Hidden Biases in Big Data
By Kate Crawford
The Anxieties of Big Data
By Kate Crawford
How Big Data Is Unfair
By Moritz Hardt
Unfair! Or Is It? Big Data and the FTC’s Unfairness Jurisdiction
By Dennis Hirsch
How Big Data Can be Used to Fight Unfair Hiring Practices
By Dustin Volz
Big Data’s Disparate Impact
By Solon Barocas and Andrew D. Selbst
Big Data and the Underground Railroad
By Alvaro M. Bedoya
Punished for Being Poor: The Problem with Using Big Data in the Justice System
By Jessica Pishko
The Ethics of Big Data in Higher Education
By Jeffrey Alan Johnson
The Chilling Implications of Democratizing Big Data
By Woodrow Harzog and Evan Selinger
Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values [White House Report]
By John Podesta et al
Data and Discrimination: Collected Essays
Edited by Seeta Pena Gangadharan with Virginia Eubanks and Solon Barocas
Emerging Responsible Data Questions for Human Rights and Human Security
By Mark Latonero
The Ethical Risks of Detecting Disease Outbreaks With Big Data
By Michael White
Framing the Big Data Ethics Debate for the Military
By Karl F. Schneider, David S. Lyle, and Francis X. Murphy
Ten Simple Rules for Responsible Big Data Research
By Matthew Zook, Solon Barocas, danah boyd, Kate Crawford, Emily Keller, Seeta Peña Gangadharan, Alyssa Goodman, Rachelle Hollander, Barbara A. Koenig, Jacob Metcalf, Arvind Narayanan, Alondra Nelson, and Frank Pasquale
Data Scientist Cathy O'Neil on the Cold Destructiveness of Big Data
By Nikhil Sonnad
The Affirmative Action of Vocabulary
'For These Times': Dickens on Big Data
Metaphors of Big Data
Photo by CyberHades, used without modificaiton under a Creative Commons license.

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