OTI Urges FTC to Address Effects of Big Data Technologies on Underserved Communities

article | August 20, 2014

Last week, New America’s Open Technology Institute urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to confront the challenges of determining the effects of big data technologies on underserved communities. The Data & Society Research Institute and Solon Barocas, an independent researcher, also joined the letter, which was submitted in response to an FTC request for comments in advance of its workshop, “Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?”

The letter asks the Commission to address the ethical problems, legal constraints, and technical difficulties associated with building a body of evidence of big data harms, the issue of whether intentions should matter in the evaluation of big data harms, and the unique context of vulnerable populations and implications for problem solving and taking steps to protect them. The letter states that the “workshop represents a formative moment in ascertaining the breadth and depth of challenges and opportunities of services and products that use big data techniques.”

Click here to read the full letter (pdf)