Politics & Society
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 16:15 to 16:45
There is a lot of talk about “big data” at the moment. For some “big data” is the next big thing, the next wet dream of new business models in the tech industry. For some “big data” is the synonym for the new face of a surveillance society where governments and other organisations aim to get hold of literally “any data” about people, they can get hold of. While both developments deserve attention and reflection, we might miss out important perspectives on concepts like “small data”, “open data” and “my data” - as the question of ones’ control over its own data.
A lot of the data which could help me improve my life is data about me – “my data” if you like. Many of the most interesting questions and problems we have involve personal data of some kind. This data might be gathered directly by me (using my own equipment or commercial services), or it could be harvested by corporations or intelligence agencies from what I do online, or assembled by public sector services I use, or voluntarily contributed to scientific and other research studies. Today, we rarely have access to these types of data, let alone the ability to reuse and share it, even when it’s my data, about just me. Who owns data about me, who controls it, who has access to it? Can I see data about me, can I get a copy of it in a form I could reuse or share, can I get value out of it? Would I even be allowed to publish openly some of the data about me, if I wanted to? This talk will give a brief introduction on the concepts of “big data”, “small data” and “open data” and have a closer look at their intersections. It will identify challenges and threats but also opportunities specially at the intersections with “my data”.