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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 29, Issue 3, 2019

Philosophy in an Age of Crisis, Part III

William H. Harwood
Pages 141-150

The Canary in the Gold Mine
Ethics, Privacy, and Big Data Analytics

This paper offers a sketch of the complicated conflicts which arise—and metastasize seemingly daily—in the era of Big Data. Given the public’s ubiquitous-yet-ostensibly-voluntary data surrender, and industry’s ubiquitous-yet-ostensibly-anodyne collection of the same, inaction is not an option for any near-just society. By revisiting the philosophical basis for Panoptic apparatus (via Bentham and Foucault), sketching the tumultuous history of US contract law trying to protect the public from itself (from Lochner to Carpenter), and comparing existing industry codes for similarly-situated—read: terrifyingly invasive—fields (e.g., physicians, therapists, attorneys, accountants), the paper will provide a preliminary framework for identifying and confronting the galaxy of problems associated with data analytics.

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