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Towards a political theory of data justice: a public good perspective

Towards a political theory of data justice: a public good perspective This study aims to develop an interdisciplinary political theory of data justice by connecting three major political theories of the public good with empirical studies about the functions of big data and offering normative principles for restricting and guiding the state’s data practices from a public good perspective.Design/methodology/approachDrawing on three major political theories of the public good – the market failure approach, the basic rights approach and the democratic approach – and critical data studies, this study synthesizes existing studies on the promises and perils of big data for public good purposes. The outcome is a conceptual paper that maps philosophical discussions about the conditions under which the state has a legitimate right to collect and use big data for public goods purposes.FindingsThis study argues that market failure, basic rights protection and deepening democracy can be normative grounds for justifying the state’s right to data collection and utilization, from the perspective of political theories of the public good. The state’s data practices, however, should be guided by three political principles, namely, the principle of transparency and accountability; the principle of fairness; and the principle of democratic legitimacy. The paper draws on empirical studies and practical examples to explicate these principles.Originality/valueBringing together normative political theory and critical data studies, this study contributes to a more philosophically rigorous understanding of how and why big data should be used for public good purposes while discussing the normative boundaries of such data practices. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society Emerald Publishing

Towards a political theory of data justice: a public good perspective

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1477-996X
eISSN
1477-996X
DOI
10.1108/jices-11-2020-0117
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study aims to develop an interdisciplinary political theory of data justice by connecting three major political theories of the public good with empirical studies about the functions of big data and offering normative principles for restricting and guiding the state’s data practices from a public good perspective.Design/methodology/approachDrawing on three major political theories of the public good – the market failure approach, the basic rights approach and the democratic approach – and critical data studies, this study synthesizes existing studies on the promises and perils of big data for public good purposes. The outcome is a conceptual paper that maps philosophical discussions about the conditions under which the state has a legitimate right to collect and use big data for public goods purposes.FindingsThis study argues that market failure, basic rights protection and deepening democracy can be normative grounds for justifying the state’s right to data collection and utilization, from the perspective of political theories of the public good. The state’s data practices, however, should be guided by three political principles, namely, the principle of transparency and accountability; the principle of fairness; and the principle of democratic legitimacy. The paper draws on empirical studies and practical examples to explicate these principles.Originality/valueBringing together normative political theory and critical data studies, this study contributes to a more philosophically rigorous understanding of how and why big data should be used for public good purposes while discussing the normative boundaries of such data practices.

Journal

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in SocietyEmerald Publishing

Published: Sep 16, 2021

Keywords: Big data; Data justice; Political theory; Public good; The state

References