ResourceMarch 17 2014

Primer: Inferences and Connections

Tamara Kneese,
Alex Rosenblat,
danah boyd

Data-oriented systems are inferring relationships between people based on genetic material, behavioral patterns (e.g., shared geography imputed by phone carriers), and performed associations (e.g., “friends” online or shared photographs). What responsibilities do entities who collect data that imputes connections have to those who are implicated by association? For example, as DNA and other biological materials are collected outside of medicine (e.g., at point of arrest, by informatics services like 23andme, for scientific inquiry), what rights do relatives (living, dead, and not-yet-born) have? In what contexts is it acceptable to act based on inferred associations and in which contexts is it not?

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