Controversies in Digital Ethics was published on February 25th, 2016 and features the chapter “Little Brother: How Big Data Necessitates an Ethical Shift from Privacy to Power,” written by third-year CRDM candidate J.J. Sylvia IV. In this chapter, J.J. examines the problems with attempting to understand and legislate big data through the ethical framework of privacy. For example, the traditional protections of notice and consent no longer make sense in the world of big data, because many of the most beneficial uses of data are not apparent until long after such data has been collected. Therefore, it’s impossible to notify and allow users to consent to all of the ways their data will be used before it has been collected.
This work connects closely with J.J.’s dissertation project, which aims to develop an affirmative approach to information and big data as an alternative to the privacy framework that is more familiar to critical theory. This affirmative approach focuses on experimental processes of subjectivation using big data, drawing heavily on the work of scholars such as Gilbert Simondon, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari.