#ethicalCS: Data

Data is an essential part of Computer Science where complex reality is represented in bits that can be analyzed by a computer. This allows us to the power of the computer to look at massive amounts of information. But it can also lead to ethical issues worth pondering. Here is a guide to help you and your student dig into the topic.

Saber Khan
Nov 29, 2017 · 2 min read

This is part of a series of documents meant support a discussion and investigation of ethics and morals in relation to the impact of computer science on the world at-large. You can find the rest of series here:

Introduction: In this document we will engage with the CS concept of Data which

Computers can be used to collect, store and analyze massive amounts of data quickly and reliably. Computer programs can use data to make decisions or to automate tasks. (CSforAll NYC Blueprint).

This document is generated from the #ethicalCS Twitter chat. You can find the highlights from the chat on Data here with Robyn Caplan, Surya Mattu and others.


  1. How do we use and protect users data within tools we build?
  2. How we see the humans that lie behind the data?
  3. How do we see all the data snooping that is happening on the internet?
  4. How do we use data thoughtfully to see the world more clearly?


  1. Ethics can be thought of how a group or institution looks at a data to understand a problem.
  2. Harm can come from impassivity so ethics need to be active.
  3. Many voices, experiences, and perspective are missing from the data which creates a bias.
  4. Ethics and data can be a critique of existing power dynamics in our society.
  5. Marginalized communities usually suffers the most when technology companies seek efficiencies.
  6. Combining study of the humanities with the study of technology can be helpful.
  7. If a tool is free then data is the product.


Saber Khan

Written by

Educator. Email me at mrkhanatndv@gmail.com

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