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Critical big data literacy tools - engaging citizens and promoting empowered internet usage

Sander, Ina 2020. Critical big data literacy tools - engaging citizens and promoting empowered internet usage. Data & Policy 2 , e5. 10.1017/dap.2020.5

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Datafied societies need informed public debate about the implications of data science technologies. At present, internet users are often unaware of the potential consequences of disclosing personal data online and few citizens have the knowledge to participate in such debates. This paper argues that critical big data literacy efforts are one way to address this lack of knowledge. It draws on findings from a small qualitative investigation and discusses the effectiveness of online critical big data literacy tools. Through pre and post use testing, the short- and longer-term influence of these tools on people’s privacy attitudes and behaviour was investigated. The study’s findings suggested that the tools tested had a predominantly positive initial effect, leading to improved critical big data literacy among most participants, which resulted in more privacysensitive attitudes and internet usage. When analysing the tools’ longer-term influence, results were more mixed, with evidence suggesting for some that literacy effects of the tools were short-lived while for others, they led to more persistent and growing literacy. The findings confirm previous research noting the complexity of privacy attitudes and also find that resignation towards privacy is multifaceted. Overall, this study reaffirms the importance of critical big data literacy and produces new findings about the value of interactive data literacy tools. These tools have been under-researched to date. This research shows that these tools could provide a relevant means to work toward empowering internet users, promoting a critical internet usage and, ideally, enabling more citizens to engage in public debates about changing data systems.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 2632-324
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 May 2020
Date of Acceptance: 20 April 2020
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 11:12

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