Reassessing values for emerging big data technologies: Integrating design-based and application-based approaches

Karolina La Fors , Bart Custers, Esther Keymolen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Through the exponential growth in digital devices and computational capabilities, big data technologies are putting pres- sure upon the boundaries of what can or cannot be considered acceptable from an ethical perspective. Much of the literature on ethical issues related to big data and big data technologies focuses on separate values such as privacy, human dignity, justice or autonomy. More holistic approaches, allowing a more comprehensive view and better balancing of values, usually focus on either a design-based approach, in which it is tried to implement values into the design of new technologies, or an application-based approach, in which it is tried to address the ways in which new technologies are used. Some integrated approaches do exist, but typically are more general in nature. This offers a broad scope of application, but may not always be tailored to the specific nature of big data related ethical issues. In this paper we distil a comprehensive set of ethical values from existing design-based and application-based ethical approaches for new technologies and further focus these values to the context of emerging big data technologies. A total of four value lists (from techno-moral values, value-sensitive design, anticipatory emerging technology ethics and biomedical ethics) were selected for this. The integrated list consists of a total of ten values: human welfare, autonomy, non-maleficence, justice, accountability, trustworthiness, privacy, dignity, solidarity and environmental welfare. Together, this set of values provides a comprehensive and in-depth overview of the values that are to be taken into account for emerging big data technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalEthics and Information Technology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019


  • Big data · Values · Design · Application · Circular life cycle · Value lists


Dive into the research topics of 'Reassessing values for emerging big data technologies: Integrating design-based and application-based approaches'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this