Conversation about Big Data and Surveillance at the University Club of Santa Barbara
Big Data isn’t Benign
An enormous amount of data gets collected, so big data isn’t just a benign repository of information. It becomes the basis for making decisions and monitoring and assessing individuals and groups. People with agendas choose which data is worth saving, which colors the pictures they subsequently form about our world. The process is co-evolutionary. People examine the world and build the infrastructure to collect data, which then the world looks different than it did before.
I’ll walk through several examples of ways of thinking about surveillance and control and present ways in which people on the cutting edge of technology have responded to protest and protect their privacy and yet practically still participate in the modern world.
I’ll discuss when, if ever, it’s OK to lie to the databases that are trying to form a digital portrait of you.
I’d like the audience to leave with new ways to think about data collection, and new ideas about what the threats and opportunities are, and to learn about how computer scientists think about big data and why.