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Big Data & Information Ethics: 4 Key Insights for Techies

Big data, information and technology rule today’s society. Find out some key insights all tech users should be aware of to keep their data and information as safe as possible.


The way we consume news and information has changed over the past 50 years. Instead of relying on newspapers and the nightly news to help us stay up-to-date with current events, we’re instead using social media and online sources to stay informed.

Today, we want to discuss 4 ways big data and technology have changed how we stay informed and the implied responsibilities.  


1. Educate About Climate Change

Despite what some people will tell you, climate change is a very real threat. Just in the past decade, the Earth has been the hottest it has ever been recorded.

While the government may have federal mandates in place (such as former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan), we need more. Even if the federal government chooses not to push for mandates to help the environment, local and state governments should be willing to step up and make positive changes. In fact, New York City is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050!

2. Provide Adequate Education

Across the nation, there are some schools that are severely underfunded and the students aren’t receiving the same kind of education as students in wealthier communities. It’s disheartening when the government spends significantly less money on their students than they do on inmates.

When a government provides students with an education, they’re less likely to end up in prison. In 2000, 89% of federal prisons offered an “Adult basic” education, but that isn’t enough. Most inmates will have a difficult time getting a job after prison because there aren’t many companies out there that are willing to hire ex-inmates – plus many jobs requiring experience and a higher education.

3. Heightened Security Measures

As a society, much of everything we do is online. Because technology is part of every facet of our lives, there is a lot of data floating around just waiting for some nefarious bad guy to hack their way into a bevy of juicy information.

It’s important that tech companies take extra steps to secure client information. Groups like the Council for Big Data, Ethics and Society must work together to create policies and frameworks that will help everyone (not just researchers or practitioners) understand how to use big data, but also how to protect themselves against data breaches.

4. Copyright Protection

With so much information readily available just by typing a keyword into your browser’s search bar, copyright claims are on the rise. We see instances of data and copyright infringement on Google, Images or even YouTube when a creator uses licensed music in their video, to which it gets taken down due to copyright infringement.

Since so many people turn to the internet to make money, either by advertising, selling data or becoming a blogger or a YouTuber, it’s important that there is enough information out there about copyrights. Keys to know include knowing how to use copyrights, where to find free resources, and what could happen if you use copyrighted material without permission.

Final Thoughts

Technology and media outlets are key players in keeping the public informed about current events. They hold a social responsibility to be truthful about the data they take and used, as well as present unbiased and accurate information. Without them, the public is at the mercy of the powers-that-be and the narrative they’d like to spin.

With that said, it’s up to us to stay informed. We have to use our better judgement to hear all sides and be open-minded when deciding where we stand on any given subject. Technology isn’t going anywhere, so let’s be smart about how we use it.

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