Healthcare and Big Data
Digital Specters and Phantom Objects
This highly original book is an ethnographic noir of how Big Data profits from patient private health information. The book follows personal health data as it is collected from inside healthcare and beyond to create patient consumer profiles that are sold to marketers. Primarily told through a first-person noir narrative, Ebeling as a sociologist-hard-boiled-detective, investigates Big Data and the trade in private health information by examining the information networks that patient data traverses. The noir narrative reveals the processes that the data broker industry uses to create data commodities—data phantoms or the marketing profiles of patients that are bought by advertisers to directly market to consumers. Healthcare and Big Data considers the implications these “data phantoms” have for patient privacy as well as the very real harm that they can cause.
Mary F.E. Ebeling is Director of Women’s and Gender Studies, and Associate Professor in Sociology at Drexel University, USA. Her research examines the intersections of gender and race, technologies, digital culture, data privacy, marketing and medical capitalism. She was a visiting research fellow in sociology at the University of Surrey, UK, from which she also holds a PhD.