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Data Justice: Examining Discriminating Systems & Tech Power

A part of Digital Shred's spring Love Data Week Workshop Series

Welcome to the Data Justice Workshop!

In this workshop we will:

  • Reflect on our personal identities & characteristics and our positionality within social power structures
  • Explore data collection practices and the disparate impact of its use in algorithmic decision-making systems
  • Examine discriminating systems across society to challenge tech power's inevitability

Reflecting on our identities & social power

Using the Flower Power worksheet:

  • As a group we will determine the dominant/powerful identities in society (outer petals).
  • Individually, write down your personal social identity (inner petals).
  • Finally, tally your matches and reflect on how your social identity compares to society's dominant ones.

Exploring algorithmic decision-making systems

Get your webcam & headphones ready!

Individually open & play this interactive documentary about face recognition technologies (approximately 8 minutes).

After completing How Normal Am I? answer the following reflection questions anonymously on the Padlet below:

  • How did your scores compare to the dominant & social identities we explored with the Power Flower?
  • How does this data seem similar or different to traditional demographic data?
  • What surprised you most about the inferences made from face recognition data?
  • Do you think these practices seem potentially harmful to you? Beneficial to society? Why or why not?

Made with Padlet

If you are unable to get the interactive documentary to work, feel free to check out one of these alternatives:

Examining discriminating systems

In your group, select an article from your assigned discriminating system category. Use the worksheet to guide your case study examination of tech power.

Be prepared to report back to the class on your responses!

Assigned category / topic (select from articles listed below):

Criminal Justice

Health & Wellness

Employment / Labor Force


Social Services / Government

Consumer Privacy

Workshop Reflection