ResourceMarch 17 2014

Primer: Inequalities and Asymmetries

Tamara Kneese,
Alex Rosenblat,
danah boyd

The availability of data is not evenly distributed. Some organizations, agencies, and sectors are better equipped to gather, use, and analyze data than others. If data is transformative, what are the consequences of defense and security agencies having greater capacity to leverage data than, say, education or social services? Financial wherewithal, technical capacity, and political determinants all affect where data is employed. As data and analytics emerge, who benefits and who doesn’t, both at the individual level and the institutional level? What about the asymmetries between those who provide the data and those who collect it? How does uneven data access affect broader issues of inequality? In what ways does data magnify or combat asymmetries in power?

This document is a workshop primer from The Social, Cultural & Ethical Dimensions of “Big Data”.