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What We Really (Should) Talk About When We Talk About Big Data

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, March 7 2014

Corporations don't need census data to guess your race & use it against you (Wikipedia)

Discrimination. Redlining. Racial profiling. These practices predate the Internet, and yet there is every indication that technology can enable infringements on civil rights to an even greater extent than before. Last week, in an effort to put civil rights at the forefront of the ongoing debate about digital privacy and security, a coalition of civil and human rights organizations jointly released “Civil Rights Principles for the Era of Big Data,” five tenets to guide policy-making.

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First POST: Realizations

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, February 6 2014

Gearing up the data shops for the 2014 mid-term elections; Silicon Valley moguls want to unseat a Democratic incumbent; is Verizon already violating net neutrality?; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Broken Heroes

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, January 9 2014

Chris Christie's political career threatened by a traffic scandal of his staff's own making; Cory Doctorow and Albert Wenger fear that 2014 may be the year we lose the open web; Upworthy shares what was most shared in 2013; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Inclemency

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, January 3 2014

Repercussions from the NY Times' call for clemency for Edward Snowden; the anniversary of Aaron Swartz's death and MIT's role; Ezra Klein taking Wonkblog independent; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Self-censorship

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, December 16 2013

The NSA uses 60 Minutes to respond to its critics; Facebook keeps track of what you don't post, the better to make you post more; Ready for Hillary seeks a 2016 Big Data advantage; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Contained Fury

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, October 30 2013

Members of the House Intelligence Committee disagree about whether the NSA has kept them fully informed; Sen. Rand Paul a serial plagiarizer?; An antidote to technolibertarianism; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

UK National Health Service Sitting On Potential Treasure Trove of Data

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, October 17 2013

Make room for the data (Wikipedia)

We live in a world in which data is so valuable some people compare it to the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. The data in this case is the vast stores of patient information held by the U.K.'s National Health Service. One of the world's largest public health systems, the NHS serves more than 50 million people. Those 50 million plus medical records are being moved to a new central database to facilitate better healthcare for patients, regardless of where they go to receive care. The central database could also be a treasure trove of data for researchers, if patients acquiesce to sharing.

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How New York City Might Do to Government what Obama Did to Campaigning

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, February 28 2013

Photo: Trodel / Flickr

The same idea that revolutionized Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign is now being put to use in New York City government. Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced that Mike Flowers, director of analytics the mayor's Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, has a new title: chief analytics officer. In an interview, Flowers tells us the role change comes from the growing importance of cross-agency collaboration in the digital city. Read More

What the Internet Can Tell Us About Flu Season

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, February 1 2013

It's a little too soon to use search data to decide whether it's time to break out the hazmat suit. But Google data is becoming more and more useful to public health professionals — and someday soon, it might be a way to predict an outbreak long before other data becomes available to document the spread of disease. Read More

If Obama Wins on Tuesday, Give the Nerds More Credit

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, November 5 2012

While Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, math nerd and poll-meister supreme, has gotten a tremendous amount of attention of late for his confident prediction of an Obama victory in tomorrow's election, the largely unwritten story of 2012 includes a different group of math nerds who specialize in figuring out which voters might be persuaded to vote for their candidate and then making sure that they maximize the number of people who actually come out to vote that way. We know very little about their work for two big reasons. First, neither campaign has wanted to tip off their opponent to what they're doing, and second, with just a few rare exceptions, political reporters and their story-assignment editors aren't even looking to find out. But tomorrow is the biggest test yet for their analytic approach to targeting, persuading and turning out voters. Read More