Publications

Download PDF

Embedding Privacy and Ethical Values in Big Data Technology 
Michael Steinmann, Julia Shuster, Jeff Collmann, Sorin Matei, Rochelle Tractenberg, Kevin FitzGerald, Greg Morgan, Douglas Richardson
Transparency on Social Media: Tools, Methods and Algorithms for Mediating Online Interactions.
Editors: Matei, Sorin Adam, Russell, Martha G., Bertino, Elisa (Eds.)
New York: Springer Publishing House. 2015


Download PDF

Using Ethical Reasoning to Amplify the Reach and Resonance of Professional Codes of Conduct in Training Big Data Scientists
Rochelle E. Tractenberg, Andrew J. Russell, Gregory J. Morgan, Kevin T. FitzGerald, Jeff Collmann, Lee Vinsel, Michael Steinmann, Lisa M. Dolling
Amplifying the Reach and Resonance of Ethical Codes of Conduct.
SpringerLink. 2014

Abstract: The use of Big Data-however the term is defined-involves a wide array of issues and stakeholders, thereby increasing numbers of complex decisions around issues including data acquisition, use, and sharing. Big Data is becoming a significant component of practice in an ever-increasing range of disciplines; however, since it is not a coherent "discipline" itself, specific codes of conduct for Big Data users and researchers do not exist. While many institutions have created, or will create, training opportunities (e.g., degree programs, workshops) to prepare people to work in and around Big Data, insufficient time, space, and thought have been dedicated to training these people to engage with the ethical, legal, and social issues in this new domain. Since Big Data practitioners come from, and work in, diverse contexts, neither a relevant professional code of conduct nor specific formal ethics training are likely to be readily available. This normative paper describes an approach to conceptualizing ethical reasoning and integrating it into training for Big Data use and research. Our approach is based on a published framework that emphasizes ethical reasoning rather than topical knowledge. We describe the formation of professional community norms from two key disciplines that contribute to the emergent field of Big Data: computer science and statistics. Historical analogies from these professions suggest strategies for introducing trainees and orienting practitioners both to ethical reasoning and to a code of professional conduct itself. We include two semester course syllabi to strengthen our thesis that codes of conduct (including and beyond those we describe) can be harnessed to support the development of ethical reasoning in, and a sense of professional identity among, Big Data practitioners.