"Big Data" discussion features experts from NYU and the White House

On Monday, March 17, New York University School of Law’s Information Law Institute partnered with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Data & Society Research Institute to host “The Social, Cultural & Ethical Dimensions of ‘Big Data.’”

The event was the second in a trio of events spearheaded by the White House, part of an initiative announced in February by Nicole Wong, deputy chief technology officer at the White House and former legal director for Twitter. On January 17, 2014, President Barack Obama had opened the discussion about US intelligence programs, privacy, and big data, and had appointed White House counselor John Podesta to produce a “comprehensive review” of how big data affects individuals’ lives, governments, business, and privacy. “Big data” refers to the extreme breadth, complexity, and variety of data available today, which resists conventional analytical methods.

Watch the video of the event below (2 hr):

Opening remarks: danah boyd, founder of the new Data & Society Research Institute; senior researcher at Microsoft Research; research assistant professor in New York University’s Department of Media, Culture, and Communication

Keynote speaker: Nicole Wong, deputy chief technology officer, White House


  • Kate Crawford, principal researcher at Microsoft Research, visiting professor at the MIT Center for Civic Media, senior fellow at the Information Law Institute at NYU
  • Steven Hodas, executive director of Innovate NYC Schools
  • Alondra Nelson, professor and director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Columbia University
  • Shamina Singh, executive director of the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth
  • Moderator: Anil Dash, co-founder and CEO of ThinkUp/Activate

This event was organized by danah boyd with support from Professor Helen Nissenbaum, who teaches at both New York University and the School of Law; Geoffrey Bowker, a professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of California-Irvine; and Crawford.

On March 3, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology hosted the first of these events, “Big Data Privacy Workshop Advancing the State of the Art in Technology and Practice.” The Center for Law and Technology at University of California-Berkeley will host the third event.

Posted on March 19, 2014