Category big data

Boiling whales and burning forests: If data is the new oil, what’s our alternative energy plan?

Several times over the last year, researchers have written about the notion of data justice (Heeks and Renken here, Johnson here, and Dencik, Hintz and Cable here). They use this terminology to bring together important concerns about the way that data, and big data in particular, are affecting society, politics and development. These authors all […]

Group Privacy: the next generation of privacy problems

Data protection doesn’t engage with the collective level – is it time for change?

Mobile data sharing in emergencies – consent, care and control

The Centre for Internet and Society recently released a groundbreaking paper on the practical, legal and ethical implications of using mobile phone data (CDRs, or Call Detail Records) in emergencies, with Liberia’s experience of the recent Ebola epidemic as the case study. Written by Sean Martin McDonald, the paper is brilliant, insightful and well researched, […]

Violence in the age of visibility

In a recent paper, Dennis Broeders and I suggested that in the era of big data, we see rather than read. States have traditionally gathered data on their citizens in person, through survey methods, and have used those data to inform policymaking. James C Scott, in his book Seeing Like a State, refers to this […]

Can we trust machines to manage our data?

In a recent post on the World Economic Forum’s blog, Kate Crawford argues that two of the biggest challenges posed by big data are preserving due process and reducing power imbalances at a time when data scientists have an unprecedented ability to ‘classify and quantify human life’. In contrast to her focus on the human […]

towards a more global data studies

Last week I published a post on the Society and Space blog site, suggesting that its time for researchers – and geographers in particular – to consider and debate in much greater detail the kinds of data that we can use, and how much they can tell us about the world. ‘Big data’ research is the subject […]

How to draw people with data – models, reality, and the riddle of the Sphinx

In Sophocles’ play, Oedipus became king of Thebes by solving a riddle posed by the Sphinx: what goes on four feet in the morning, two feet at noon, and three feet in the evening? Oedipus guessed correctly that it was a human: first a baby crawling, then an adult walking, then using a stick in […]