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“Oath of Non-Harm for an Age of Big Data” From the Book “Automating Inequality”

I believe the poor of America need to be given some attention and care. In an age of technology and big data we need to ensure that the methods we incorporate in taking care of our own are not oppressive or digressive. Below is the “Oath of Non-Harm for an Age of Big Data”. Special thanks to Virginia Eubanks for shedding light on this controversial topic and providing a way forward.

“I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability, the following covenant:

I will respect all people for their integrity and wisdom, understanding that they are experts in their own lives, and will gladly share with them all the benefits of my knowledge.

I will use my skills and resources to create bridges for human potential, not barriers. I will create tools that remove obstacles between resources and the people who need them.

I will not use my technical knowledge to compound the disadvantage created by historic patterns of racism, classism, able-ism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, religious intolerance, and other forms of oppression.

I will design with history in mind. To ignore a four-century-long pattern of punishing the poor is to be complicit in the ‘unintended’ but terribly predictable consequences that arise when equity and good intentions are assumed as initial conditions.

I will integrate systems for the needs of people, not data. I will choose system integration as a mechanism to attain human needs, not to facilitate ubiquitous surveillance.

I will not collect data for data’s sake, nor keep it just because I can.

When informed consent and design convenience come into conflict, informed consent will always prevail.

I will design no data-based system that overturns an established legal right of the poor.

I will remember that the technologies I design are not aimed at data points, probabilities, or patterns, but at human beings.”

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