Overview

The Digital Platforms and Data Capture initiative takes a relational approach to data ethics by examining how digital platforms intersect with wider moral assemblages.

Specifically, it examines how platforms, as digital infrastructures and powerful metaphors, mediate between the moral lives of users and projects of digital control pursued by private and governmental actors. Platform providers face constant pressure to invite participation, interaction, and productivity. In response, they frequently and variously frame their digital environments as new foundations for opportunity, community, inclusion, accessibility. At the same time, recent controversies around user data have highlighted how such promissory visions help facilitate massive projects of data capture.

Digital platforms, therefore, not only find traction in personal moral worlds, but in doing so, the data they generate also informs modes of digital control, algorithmic and otherwise. Platforms, in other words, reorganize moral worlds to facilitate future interventions into those worlds, further shaping the conditions for ethical action and imagination.

This initiative critically examines such moral recursions emerging around and through data capture. It traces feedback loops between contemporary moralities and big data to explore the ethical implications of data in the context of techno-moral projects of control.