videoJune 27 2018

Privacy from the bottom-up: Can technology empower communities?

Darakhshan Mir

Databite No. 112

Data & Society Fellow Darakhshan Mir discusses the vast amounts of data generated by contemporary communities and the ensuing struggle between privacy and utility.

There is often an assumption, within computer science, that there exists an “inerrant value or common good in the existence of personal data around us,” Mir explains. However, it is the utilization of these data-sets that comes in conflict with privacy. Mir asks: When it comes to our data, where does power lie within the balancing act of privacy and utility? If we fail to take notice of this struggle, she explains, the already powerful will continue to gain power, while the disempowered will continue to loss what little power they began with.

Data & Society’s Fellows Talks is a three-part Databite series showcasing our 2017-2018 fellows cohort. Each talk features 2-3 fellows speaking about their work, wide-ranging interdisciplinary connections, and a few of the provocative questions that have emerged this year.

Darakhshan Mir is a 2017-18 Data & Society Fellow and Jane Griffith Faculty Fellow and Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Bucknell University, working on issues of data privacy. Prior to that, she was the Norma Wilentz Hess Fellow at Wellesley College and earned her PhD in Computer Science at Rutgers University. Her research consists of examining questions about privacy in algorithmic, information-theoretic, and more recently, in social contexts. She enjoys challenging herself and her students to think more deeply about our “nerd privileges” and question our “unbridled technological optimism.”

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Data & Society’s “Databites” speaker series presents timely conversations about the purpose and power of technology, bridging our interdisciplinary research with broader public conversations about the societal implications of data and automation.