Data for Good

Used responsibly, data and technology can create the foundation for more equitable access to opportunity, greater accountability, and a stronger democracy.

We’re working towards an era when decision-making is data driven, AI systems guard against discrimination and bias, and the digital divide is bridged.

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Data is power

Governments and businesses now have access to an unprecedented stream of data. The potential benefits for health, employment, education, finance, urban development, and more are enormous. But so are the risks. Engineers, technologists, and the organizations they work for face a profound conundrum: at issue is not merely how we can use this data, but how we should.

Tandon is defining the frameworks and tools for next-generation, responsible data use across a variety of fields, and its GovLab is finding ways to facilitate civic participation, rapid mobilization of resources, and transparency in governance around the world. Whether that’s advocating for open-data policies and platforms before the U.S. Congress, using crowdsourcing to tackle corruption in Latin America, or providing guidance to policymakers on responding to a global pandemic, The GovLab is advancing more effective and legitimate governing.

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It's about more than a single election

Political campaigns are increasingly deploying all the tricks and techniques of online marketing — including gathering exceptionally granular data on their target audience. With detailed information about our shopping habits, the events we attend, and the topics we research, they can determine what we care about. But they’re rarely open about how they operate; researchers with Tandon’s Online Political Ads Transparency Project analyzed more than 1.3 million ads disseminated on Facebook, Google, and Twitter and discovered a significant lack of transparency in who exactly was funding the advertising, as well as a disturbing amount of deception and misinformation.

It’s not about liberal and conservative or any single party line; it’s about the trustworthiness of our democratic processes and how we can use data and technology to safeguard and improve them. 

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Damon McCoy

Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Damon McCoy focuses on measuring the security and privacy of technology systems and their intersections with society. His Online Transparency Project tracks political spending on Facebook, collecting and organizing data to help journalists and advocates shine a light on the murky world of political advertising. 

Nasir Memon

Nasir Memon

Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Nasir Memon is a co-founder of NYU's Center for Cyber Security (CCS) at New York as well as NYU Abu Dhabi. Since introducing cyber security studies to NYU Tandon in 1999, his work has been  key to understanding the security threats created by new technologies. He has examined the potential dangers behind biometric security systems, the spread of fake news across social media, and — most recently — the rise of deepfake technology, which threatens to undermine the public trust in the power of photographs.

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Ad Observatory

Damon McCoy and doctoral student Laura Edelson are bringing truth and transparency to political ads with the NYU Ad Observatory, a powerful new tool letting reporters, researchers, and the public see who is buying political ads on Facebook, how much they are spending, and whom they are targeting.

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Center for Responsible AI

The Center for Responsible AI at NYU Tandon is creating new ways of keeping AI unbiased, and training the next generation of experts to design technology that’s powerful and effective, but also equitable and fair.

New York City

Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP)

The Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to the application of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the service of urban communities across the globe. Using New York City as our laboratory and classroom, we strive to develop novel data- and technology-driven solutions for complex urban problems.

The Gov lab Web Meeting

The Governance Lab (The GovLab)

The Governance Lab studies the impact of technology on governing. This "think" and "do" tank partners with public institutions to design, implement and assess innovative ways of using technology to advance more effective and legitimate governing. Our goal is to strengthen the ability of public institutions — including but not limited to governments — and people to work more transparently and collaboratively to make better decisions, solve public problems, and advance social justice.

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Visualization and Data Analytics ViDA Center

The Visualization and Data Analytics Research Center at NYU consists of computer scientists who work closely with domain experts to apply the latest advances in computing to problems of critical societal importance, and simultaneously generate hypotheses and methods that new data sources and data types demand.