Video, PodcastJanuary 8 2020

An Ecological Approach to Data Governance

Jasmine McNealy

Databite No. 127

Data are currency. Data provide the fuel for decision-making and profit-making. Data offer evidence for enhancing health services, infrastructure, and zoning, and for addressing environmental concerns. But the collection and use of data is spurring conflicts between cities, corporate and civil society organizations, and constituents. These conflicts occur on the grounds of data ownership, access, privacy, and security.

Dr. McNealy traces these conflicts to our perception of data as a singular piece of property. A better metaphor for data, she contends, would be that of a networked representation or observation in an ecosystem. Dr. McNealy argues that we require an ecological approach for understanding this era of emergent technology and data — both for creating adequate policy, and for protecting the vulnerable.

This event is moderated by Data & Society Director of Research Sareeta Amrute.

Jasmine McNealy, a 2018-2019 Data & Society Fellow, is an associate professor at the University of Florida, a fellow at the Stanford University Digital Civil Society Lab, and a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Both an attorney and social scientist, she studies media, information, and emerging technology, with a view toward influencing law and policy. Her current research focuses on privacy, surveillance and data governance with an emphasis on marginalized communities.

About Databites

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