• Professor Helen Margetts: Government

    The Changing Digital Context of Government

Date: Live at launch event on Saturday 10th Sept.


Big data offers extraordinary potential for policy-makers, who can suddenly access transactional and trace data about their services and citizens on an unprecedented scale.  More generally, data science is a powerful catalyst for unlocking insights and improvements in almost every industry and academic sphere.  This session will consider the policy implications of governing in the era of big data, including the practical and ethical challenges it presents.

Topics to include:

  • What opportunities does big data offer to transform government services?
  • What are the issues associated with combining data from a diverse array of sources?  (eg: risk of re-identification)
  • What are the trade-offs involved in balancing potential societal benefits (eg: enabling medical breakthroughs) vs right to privacy and consent of individuals over who owns and has access to data?


Required readings

Optional readings

  • Mayer-Schönberger, Viktor, and Kenneth Cukier. Big data: A revolution that will transform how we live, work, and think. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
  • Helen Margetts, Peter John, Scott Hale, Taha Yasseri (2015) Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action (Princeton University Press) particularly Chapter 8, can be made available in proof later this summer.
  • Margetts, Helen, and Patrick Dunleavy. “The second wave of digital-era governance: a quasi-paradigm for government on the Web.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences1987 (2013): 20120382.
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Professor Helen Margetts

Professor Helen Margetts

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