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Reclaiming our data: interim report, Detroit

Petty, Tawana, Saba, Mariella, Lewis, Tamika, Gangadharan, Seeta Peña ORCID: 0000-0002-1955-3874 and Eubanks, Virginia (2018) Reclaiming our data: interim report, Detroit. . Our Data Bodies.

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Our Data Bodies (ODB) is a research justice project that examines the impact of data collection and data-driven systems on the ability of marginalized peoples to meet their human needs. For the past three years, ODB has been working in three cities—Charlotte, North Carolina; Detroit, Michigan; and Los Angeles California. To date, we have completed nearly 135 in-depth interviews with residents of these cities’ most historically marginalized neighborhoods. Our project combines community-based organizing, capacity-building, and rigorous academic research. Through collective community building and analysis of the stories we've collected, the ODB project has identified many similarities in how people across the three cities experience data collection and data-driven systems. Patterns have emerged like insecurity and targeting, resignation and resistance, the separation of family—whether through incarceration, detention, deportation, or foster care systems— and speak to the way that individuals are forced to trade away their data to attain basic human needs. Our community members describe the experience of being forced to engage with intrusive and unsecure data-driven systems because of their membership in groups that have historically faced exploitation, discrimination, predation, and other forms of structural violence. They’ve shared with us their experience of being caught in a cycle of injustice and the impact this feedback loop has on their livelihoods. Our interviewees also tell a story of wanting both privacy and the ability to be seen and heard as whole human beings. Charlotteans, Detroiters, and Angelinos are resilient in spite of persistent and destructive forms of surveillance and profiling. They believe in their humanity, value human relationships, and want respect and recognition in and beyond the systems of data collection that try to govern their lives. Overall, surveillance and data collection are deeply connected to diversion from public benefits, insecure housing, loss of job opportunities, and the policing and criminalization of our communities. Whether an error or something they have overcome, people’s data stays with them—far longer than more advantaged groups, and its impacts are profound.

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 the Authors © 2018 CC BY 4.0
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2018 09:32
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 13:28
Funders: The Digital Trust Foundation, Institute of International Education, Media Democracy Fund, Mozilla Foundation

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