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Data and Discrimination: Converting Critical Concerns into Productive Inquiry

A preconference at the 64th Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association
Thursday, May 22, 2014, 9:00-4:30
Seattle, Washington, Sheraton Seattle Hotel (Kirkland Room)
Organized by Seeta Peña Gangadharan, Open Technology Institute, New America Foundation

From popular discourse to policy declarations, questions of discrimination have begun to shape how we understand and confront our data-drenched society.

The Open Technology Institute is convening a group of academics to grapple with some of the most complex and pressing public problems related to data and discrimination. From biometric databases of political refugees to in-store tracking and personalization, researchers will cover a range of experiences and examples and discuss unintended and intended consequences of data collection, use, analysis, storage, and sharing. The meeting promises to surface historical, methodological, moral, and ethical issues in algorithmic and aggregative processes that govern public and private decision making today.

The event—a preconference of the International CommunicationAssociation's annual meeting—will take place in Seattle, Washington. A short summary of the event will be made available at its conclusion.


9:00-9:10 Introduction

9:15-10:45 Discovering Harms
  • Auditing Algorithms: A Research Method for Detecting Discrimination on Internet Platforms, Christian Sandvig, Department of Communication Studies, University of Michigan; Kevin Hamilton, Center for People and Infrastructures, Coordinated Science Laboratory, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Karrie Karahalios, Department of Computer Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Cedric Langbort, Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Privacy Implications of Health Information Seeking on the Web, Tim Libert, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania
  • Discrimination by Design? Data-Based Pricing in Online Ad-Buying Systems, Darren Stevenson, Department of Communication, University of Michigan
  • Big Data and Unattainable Scholarship, Asta Zelenkauskaite, Department of Culture and Communication, Drexel University; Erik P. Bucy, College of Media & Communication, Texas Tech University
11:00-12:30 Participation, Presence, Politics
  • Making Data Mining a Natural Part of Life, Joseph Turow, Annenberg School for Communication University of Pennsylvania; Lee McGuigan, Annenberg School for Communication University of Pennsylvania
  • Citizen Perspectives on the Customization/Privacy Paradox Related to Smart Grid Implementation, Jenifer Sunrise Winter, School of Communications, University of Hawaii, Manoa
  • Bot Technology, Algorithmic Culture, and Political Contention, Samuel Woolley, Department of Communication, University of Washington
  • The Construction of Open Government Data: Decisions Points and Discriminatory Potential, Timothy Davies, Web Science and Social Policy, University of Southampton

12:30-2:00 Lunch
2:00-3:45 Fairness, Equity, Impact
  • Theorizing Data-Based Discrimination: Biometric Technologies and the Changing Nature of Citizenship, Avi Marciano, Department of Communication, University of Haifa, Israel
  • Privacy and Class: Privacy’s Distributive Value, Jennifer Urban, Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, University of California-Berkeley School of Law
  • Civil Rights and Surveillance, Virginia Eubanks, Department of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, State University of New York, Albany
  • Networked Rights and Networked Harms, Karen Levy, Department of Sociology, Princeton University; danah boyd, Microsoft Research
  • How Data Mining Discriminates, Solon Barocas, Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University
3:45-4:00 Break

4:00-4:15 Closing Discussion

The original call for abstracts is attached.