In recent years, the influence of big data – the large-scale collection and analysis of personal data with related scoring and prediction mechanisms – has been increasing steadily. However, these data systems come with inherent risks, such as endangering individual privacy, intensifying surveillance, the increasing quantification of our lives and a reinforcement of existing discriminations. While internet users may know about data collection online, they lack an understanding and critical reflection of the potential consequences of these big data practices.
In my research, I aim to address this lack of knowledge through “Critical Big Data Literacy”. Building on my prior work in the field, my PhD project examines ways to educate internet users about big data and the increasing datafication of our lives and societies. I plan to develop an extended conceptualisation of the literacy that citizens need to navigate in datafied societies; learn more about online tools that foster such literacy and the creators behind them; and, finally, conduct a transfer of academic knowledge into practice in collaboration with the NGO Privacy International.