Big Data Ethics

Big Data & Society 2014 1: DOI: 10.1177/2053951714559253

University of Groningen Faculty of Law Research Paper 2015/17

8 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2015 Last revised: 30 Apr 2015

Date Written: November 20, 2014


The speed of development in Big Data and associated phenomena, such as social media, has surpassed the capacity of the average consumer to understand his or her actions and their knock-on effects. We are moving towards changes in how ethics has to be perceived: away from individual decisions with specific and knowable outcomes, towards actions by many unaware that they may have taken actions with unintended consequences for anyone. Responses will require a rethinking of ethical choices, the lack thereof and how this will guide scientists, governments, and corporate agencies in handling Big Data. This essay elaborates on the ways Big Data impacts on ethical conceptions.

Keywords: Big Data, Governance, Ethics, Distributed Responsibility

JEL Classification: Z00

Suggested Citation

Zwitter, Andrej, Big Data Ethics (November 20, 2014). Big Data & Society 2014 1: DOI: 10.1177/2053951714559253, University of Groningen Faculty of Law Research Paper 2015/17, Available at SSRN:

Andrej Zwitter (Contact Author)

Campus Fryslân ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV

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