- Big data: Finders keepers, losers weepers?
- Ethics and Information Technology
- Volume | Issue number
- 18 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
Faculty of Law (FdR)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
Institute for Information Law (IViR)
This article argues that big data’s entrepreneurial potential is based not only on new technological developments that allow for the extraction of non-trivial, new insights out of existing data, but also on an ethical judgment that often remains implicit: namely the ethical judgment that those companies that generate these new insights can legitimately appropriate (the fruits of) these insights. As a result, the business model of big data companies is essentially founded on a libertarian-inspired ‘finders, keepers’ ethic. The article argues, next, that this presupposed ‘finder, keepers’ ethic is far from unproblematic and relies itself on multiple unconvincing assumptions. This leads to the conclusion that the conduct of companies working with big data might lack ethical justification.
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