Big Data Ethics and Politics: Toward New Understandings

Introductory paper by Wenhong Chen and Anabel Quan-Haase of Special Issue of the Social Science Computer Review:  “The hype around big data does not seem to abate nor do the scandals. Privacy breaches in the collection, use, and sharing of big data have affected all the major tech players, be it Facebook, Google, Apple, or Uber, and go beyond the corporate world including governments, municipalities, and educational and health institutions. What has come to light is that enabled by the rapid growth of social media and mobile apps, various stakeholders collect and use large amounts of data, disregarding the ethics and politics.

As big data touch on many realms of daily life and have profound impacts in the social world, the scrutiny around big data practice becomes increasingly relevant. This special issue investigates the ethics and politics of big data using a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches. Together, the articles provide new understandings of the many dimensions of big data ethics and politics, showing it is important to understand and increase awareness of the biases and limitations inherent in big data analysis and practices….(More)”