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The Ethics and Politics of Data


Units: 6


The objective of this course is to introduce students to the many ethical and political issues arising in the gathering, storage, processing, and exploitation of data. The course will instruct students on how to contribute to ethical debates about data and to help make policy about it. Students will learn how to write effective and readable opinion pieces publishable on intellectually respectable Internet news sites and offered to potential employers as demonstration of your ability to write in an informed, persuasive, and engaging way about some of the headline ethical issues of the day.

This is an interdisciplinary course. It draws on information from many different sources, including economics, politics, ethics, philosophy, and data science. The interdisciplinary focus of the course means that we will be interested in debate and discussion between these various disciplines. Successful interdisciplinary discussion advances an informed view about the ethical implications of the digital economy in a way that minimizes specialist jargon.

Learning Outcomes

Students completing this course will be able to:
• understand ethical and political issues that arise in the gathering, storage, processing, and exploitation of data
• identify philosophical themes that arise in contemporary debates about data
• formulate contributions to these debates suitable to shape public policy about data and potentially publishable on reputable Internet news sites.