Big Data, Algorithms, and Discrimination

Date(s) - 03/31/2015
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Room 4004, UNC School of Law

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Please join us on March 31 for a discussion of the potential discriminatory effects of big data and algorithms.

Companies and the government are increasingly using large data sets and algorithms to make decisions that have real impacts on the lives of individuals. These decisions include what advertisements to show to a specific user, what price to charge for a product or service, and which neighborhoods law enforcement should place under increased surveillance. Big data analytics can help us make sense of the world and can have commercial and social benefits. However, algorithms that “learn” what decisions to make based on existing data have the potential to institutionalize bias against under-represented groups (especially minorities, the poor, and the elderly). The White House recently recognized this potential for discrimination in its May 2014 big data report. On March 31, 2015, the Center for Media Law and Policy, the UNC Media Law Society, and the UNC Law ACLU will host a discussion about the potential discriminatory effects of big data and what should be done to check digital bias.

The panel will take place at noon on March 31 at the University of North Carolina School of Law, room 4004. Panelists will include:

  • Margaret Hu, assistant professor of law, Washington and Lee University School of Law. Hu’s research explores the intersection of immigration policy, national security, cybersurveillance, and civil rights. Her publications include Racial Profiling and the New Security State and Big Data Roadkill and Due Process Failures.
  • Zeynep Tufekci, assistant professor, University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science. Tufekci studies the social impacts of technology and surveillance. Her recent article, The Year We Get Creeped Out By Algorithms, explores the consequences of letting computers make subjective judgments.
  • Julie Earp, associate professor of information technology, North Carolina State University. Earp’s research focuses on Internet security and privacy issues from several perspectives, including data management, consumer values, policy, economics, and law.

This event is free and open to the public.

Tagged: big data, Civil Rights, Privacy, surveillance
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