Latonero joins Data & Society’s inaugural class of fellows

Mark Latonero 9-28-11

Research director Mark Latonero has been named to the inaugural class of fellows at the Data & Society Research Institute in New York.

Launched this year and led by pioneering scholar danah boyd, Data & Society aims to “advance the public’s understanding of the challenges and opportunities presented by a networked society.” By hosting events, developing policy frameworks, and creating projects and publicly available research backed by interdisciplinary collaborations, Data & Society addresses social, ethical, legal, and policy issues affected by data-driven technology.

The Institute’s fellows will work on “a bunch of thorny and interesting data and society issues,” writes boyd. “Over the coming year the group will pursue their own projects, support one another’s work, and help to develop the Institute and shape its research agenda.” Latonero’s research at Data & Society focuses on the intersections between data, development, and human rights.

“This fellowship is a fantastic opportunity to investigate the risks and benefits of data-centric approaches to intractable social and human rights issues,” said Latonero. “Data & Society has a strong network of policy-makers, thinkers, and practitioners across academic, private, and public sectors who are all interested in examining the new frontiers of our data-driven society.”

Latonero has worked on past collaborations with boyd, including the creation of a set of guidelines, “How to Responsibly Create Technological Interventions to Address the Domestic Sex Trafficking of Minors.” Earlier this year, he spoke about the role of big data in the fight against human trafficking at The Social, Cultural, & Ethical Dimensions of “Big Data,” a Data & Society event co-hosted with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and New York University’s Information Law Institute.

During his residency in New York, Latonero will continue to lead the USC Annenberg Technology and Trafficking Initiative, first launched at a 2010 in coordination with the U.S. Department of State. Through this Initiative, Latonero spearheaded groundbreaking research on technology’s dual role in facilitating and combating human trafficking. Professor Latonero’s current projects include the first research project on technology and labor trafficking (supported by Humanity United), addressing sex trafficking of minors online (supported by the U.S. Department of Justice), and evaluating anti-trafficking messages and social media in Indonesia (supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development).

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CCLP’s 2011 report authored by Latonero, Human Trafficking Online, was the first in-depth examination of the role of social networking sites and online classifieds in the domestic sex trafficking of minors. The second report, The Rise of Mobile (2012), was the first of its kind to examine the role of mobile technology in both facilitating and combating human trafficking.