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Social Media and Human Rights

Ethics of Big Data CRASSH Research Group to be launched in 2015-16

Together with Anne Alexander (Cambridge Digital Humanities Network), Clare Dyer-Smith (Cambridge Big Data Strategic Research Initiative) Nicole Janz (Social Sciences Research Methods Centre), Richard Milne (Institute of Public Health/PHG Foundation), and Jatinder Singh (Computing Laboratory), I am happy to announce that we will be launching an Ethics of Big Data Research Group in 2015-16.  The Research Group is supported by CRASSH and by the Cambridge Big Data Strategic Research Initiative and builds on the latter's Ethics of Big Data Network.

Here's a sample of our introductory text: 

As a society we are creating ever-larger volumes and varieties of data, which are also being shared at increasing velocities. The embedding of sensor networks in ‘smart cities’, the rapid expansion of mobile phone and particularly mobile internet use and the growth of social, political and cultural interactions on social media platforms are some of the factors behind this phenomenon. Methods and tools for the computational analysis of such massive and complex datasets are being adopted in a wide range of settings by governments, international institutions, corporations, civil society organisations and academic researchers. However, the growing prevalence of big data research across the disciplines, has significantly outpaced our knowledge of its ethical ramifications (boyd and Crawford 2012). 

The aims of this interdisciplinary Ethics of Big Data Research Group are to explore these ethical ramifications and to develop concrete resources for scholars conducting big data research.  In addition, the Research Group intends to contribute to our understanding of research ethics more broadly in terms of their relationship to rapidly evolving research practices and in terms of how they translate across disciplines.

We are lining up an exciting list of speakers and events.  For more information, visit the Ethics of Big Data webpage.

About this website

This is the website for Ella McPherson's work related to her 2014-17 ESRC-funded research project, Social Media, Human Rights NGOs, and the Potential for Governmental Accountability.