Big Data in human research raises significant, complex and serious questions for researchers, host institutions and research ethics reviewers. These matters have been compounded by the societal trends accelerated by the COVID-19 Pandemic (such as remote work). This Lowy Institute paper dives into the issues. A recommended read for institutional policy writers and anyone interested in big data coupled with research ethics. We have included links to six related items.
- Data abundance, digital connectivity, and ubiquitous technology now enable near complete coverage of human lives across the planet, often in real-time. The Covid-19 pandemic, by forcing more interactions online and greater social reliance on technology, has significantly added to the global pool of data.
- Advances in the scale, application, and commercial uses of data significantly outpace regulation of the big data landscape. Technical and analytical capabilities that are essential for the functioning of societies are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small number of commercial entities.
- The implications of big data for surveillance, real or potential interference, and kinetic war are underappreciated in policy and public discussions. Identifying and protecting the uses of critical data should be a national security priority for government on par with safeguarding critical digital infrastructure.
Hammond-Errey, M. (2022) Big Data and National Security: A Guide for Australian Policymakers. Lowy Institute.