Center for Big Data Ethics, Law, and Policy

Ethical, legal, and policy issues are at the heart of big data research.  Who, if anyone, owns data? Are there limits to how data can be used? Are there value-biases built into certain analytics?  Are there categories that should never be used in analyzing personal data?  Should some data be publicly available to all researchers?  Discussion and resolution of these issues (and many more) will powerfully shape the development of the tools, techniques, knowledge, and applications of new data sciences.  Social reactions, legal analysis and decisions, and policy choices will powerfully affect data collection and aggregation activities, the architecture of data, and the benefits and dangers of these activities.  Although some issues can be anticipated based on experience with earlier forms of data collection and data mining, others involve breaking new ground and will likely require new ways of thinking about ethical, legal, and policy issues.


The broad mission of the Center for Data Ethics, Law, and Policy is to develop an understanding of, and perspectives on, the ethical, legal and policy issues and to identify strategies and policies to address these issues.  The Center will have a local as well as a national/international thrust.  Locally it will bring together faculty and graduate students from across grounds to work together and to work with faculty who are engaged in research in the Data Science Institute.   Nationally and internationally the mission will involve a range of activities including published research and hosting workshops and conferences.


Activities of the Center will include:

  • Holding annual conferences, workshops, and events;
  • Sponsoring collaborative research and study projects;
  • Seeking external support for research;
  • Contributing to the pedagogical mission of the Data Sciences Institute
  • Developing and promulgating policy recommendations