How big data can hurt civil rights

There has been a lot praise and benefits to the way big data can improve our lives, sleep, the movie suggestions on our Netflix account but on the issue of civil rights big data’s role can lead to a step backward and not forward.

This article  titled “White House: Done wrong, big data can hurt civil rights” sums it up pretty accurately in that big data if used and and shared with the community can be useful; however if we misuse big data then we can hurt the relationships built. Let’s look closer at crime data; big data can be used to understand crime data patterns to see if resources can be better allocated to certain areas.  This information can be shared so people can see what the results of the allocation of resources have led to and the benefits to their community. The key is that the data should be shared for transparency and accountability.

However,the dark side of big data when misused can lead to profiling and targeting of individuals whose credit history, loan information are used against them. While big data can predict which individuals may default on a loan or credit card payment, the information can prevent someone from starting fresh. The goal is not to target people but to use the information wisely and carefully.

Ultimately, big data is here to stay in all aspects of our lives and community. The goal is to share and be open about the data, methods of collection and how it’s being used so that the transparency brings understanding and not confusion or anger.


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