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Nexus Hosts Reception after Indigenous Data Sovereignty Talk

Department of Sociology Speaker Series Presents:

Maggie Walter, Distinquished Professor of Sociology, University of Tasmania, "Indigenous Data Sovereignty in the Age of Big Data"

Monday, February 10 @ 2:30pm

Room: Chemistry/Physics – 4036

Reception to follow at the Nexus Centre


The landscape of Indigenous health and other statistics in first world colonised nation states such as Australia and Canada is characterised by two simultaneously occurring data revolutions. One is the emergence of Indigenous Data Sovereignty and its operating mechanism, Indigenous data governance which assert the rights of Indigenous peoples within data ecosystems. The other is the inception of high-powered technologies that underpin the concepts and realities of Big Data and Open Data initiatives. Both hold the potential to deliver significant benefits to Indigenous populations. But as currently constructed these two data revolutions are incompatible and perhaps irreconcilable. Because while sector reports highlight the potential benefits of Open Data and Big Data, the marginalised social, cultural and political location of Indigenous peoples suggest we will not share equally in these. The risks associated with these technologies, including the appropriation of cultural knowledge and intellectual property and an algorithm driven perpetuation of discrimination and stigma is also unevenly distributed towards Indigenous peoples. This presentation discusses the potential unforeseen (and likely unseen) consequences of open data, big data as well as how Indigenous data sovereignty, as an emerging site of science and activism, can mediate the risks while providing pathways to collective benefits.