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The Thin Lines between Data Analysis and Surveillance: Reflections on a Research History

Danyel Fisher

Abstract

Where are the lines between ‘big data analytics’ and ‘surveillance’? As a researcher in the former—and an outspoken skeptic of the latter—I review my own research to examine how my own attempts to manage privacy in collecting and visualizing data have worked out. Interestingly, perhaps distressingly, it seems that even when projects are designed around viewing and displaying privacy-enhanced aggregates, it is easier to discuss them in terms of individual behavior and single subjects: a path that can lead distressingly toward accidentally building surveillance systems.

Details

Publication typeTechReport
NumberMSR-TR-2014-51
PublisherMicrosoft Research
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