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Big Data Analytics: From Threatening Privacy to Challenging Democracy

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E-Democracy – Safeguarding Democracy and Human Rights in the Digital Age (e-Democracy 2019)

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Abstract

The vast amount of accumulated information and the technologies that store, process and disseminate it are producing deep changes in society. The amount of data generated by Internet users poses great opportunities and significant challenges for political scientists. Having a positive effect in many fields, business intelligence and analytics tools are used increasingly for political purposes. Pervasive digital tracking and profiling, in combination with personalization, have become a powerful toolset for systematically influencing user behaviour. When used in political campaigns or in other efforts to shape public policy, privacy issues intertwine with electoral outcomes. The practice of targeting voters with personalized messages adapted to their personality and political views, has already raised debates about political manipulation; however, studies focusing on privacy are still scarce. Focusing on the democracy aspects and identifying the threats to privacy stemming from the use of big data technologies for political purposes, this paper identifies long-term privacy implications which may undermine fundamental features of democracy such as fair elections and political equality of all citizens. Furthermore, this paper argues that big data analytics raises the need to develop alternative narratives to the concept of privacy.

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Mavriki, P., Karyda, M. (2020). Big Data Analytics: From Threatening Privacy to Challenging Democracy. In: Katsikas, S., Zorkadis, V. (eds) E-Democracy – Safeguarding Democracy and Human Rights in the Digital Age. e-Democracy 2019. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 1111. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-37545-4_1

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