Dr Brent Mittelstadt

Brent Mittelstadt is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working on the Data Analysis in IoT Solutions for Healthcare (DASH) project. His research addresses the ethics of algorithms, machine learning, artificial intelligence and data analytics (‘Big Data’).

Email: brent.mittelstadt@oii.ox.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)1865 287221

Dr. Brent Mittelstadt is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in data ethics at the Oxford Internet Institute. His research addresses the ethics of algorithms, machine learning, artificial intelligence and data analytics (‘Big Data’). Over the past five years his focus has broadly been on the ethics and governance of emerging information technologies, including a special interest in medical applications. Reflecting this, in the past year he has worked on the Data Analysis in IoT Solutions for Healthcare (DASH) project, part of the EPSRC’s PETRAS IoT Hub, to develop ethical guidelines for designing the health-related Internet of Things. Prior to this he collaborated with Prof. Luciano Floridi on the Ethics of Biomedical Big Data project at the University of Oxford. With support from the Brocher Foundation and the University of Oxford’s John Fell Fund he has recently organised workshops and symposia on ethics, policy and governance for biomedical Big Data, which led to the publication of an edited volume in Springer’s Law, Governance and Technology book series and a special issue in Philosophy & Technology. He also organises the Oxford Internet Institute’s Ethics and Philosophy of Information research cluster.

His immediate research focuses on ethical auditing of algorithms, including the development of standards and methods to ensure fairness, accountability, transparency, interpretability, and group privacy in complex algorithmic systems. A recent paper on the lack of meaningful and accountability and transparency mechanisms for automated decision-making in the General Data Protection Regulation highlights the pressing need for work in these areas. 

He holds two Master’s degrees from Utrecht Universiteit and Linköpings Universitet relating to a dissertation on the ethical acceptability of genetically modifying animals used in scientific research to not feel pain. His doctoral research, conducted in collaboration with the FP7 projects ETICA and PHM-Ethics, looked into the ethical implications of personal health monitoring devices, in particular how they may undermine ‘internal goods’ of traditional medical relationships.

Research interests

ethics, medical ICT, data mining, technology governance, responsible research and innovation, Habermas, information ethics, virtue ethics, hermeneutics, bioethics, computer ethics, epistemology

Positions held at the OII

  • Research Associate, February 2017 –
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, October 2014 – February 2017

Latest blog posts

Current projects

Past projects

  • Data Financing for Global Good: A Feasibility Study

    Participants: Professor Vili Lehdonvirta, Dr Brent Mittelstadt, Dr Greg Taylor, Yin Yin Lu, Artem Kadikov, Professor Helen Margetts

    This project, and the resulting report, provides a first step in the assessment of data financing as a mechanism for social good in the data economy.

  • Ethics of Biomedical Big Data

    Participants: Professor Luciano Floridi, Dr Brent Mittelstadt

    This project seeks to investigate the ethical aspects and requirements of Big Data in preparation to develop a European framework for the ethical use of Big Data in biomedical research.

Chapters

Conference papers

  • Mittelstadt, B., Stahl, B. and Fairweather, B. (2013) "PHM-Ethics and ETICA: complementary approaches to ethical assessment.", Studies in health technology and informatics. 187 117-135.

Journal articles

Reports

  • Mittelstadt, B.D.M. (2013) "On the ethical implications of personal health monitoring" In: A conceptual framework for emerging discourses. Leicester: De Montfort University.
  • Mittelstadt, B.D.M. (2013) "Privacy and personal health monitoring" In: FRRIICT Observatory.
  • Mittelstadt, B.D.M. (2013) "Personal health monitoring" In: FRRIICT Observatory.
  • Mittelstadt, B.D.M. (2013) "Personal data protection" In: FRRIICT Observatory.
  • Mittelstadt, B.D.M. (2009) Transforming the Brute: On the Ethical Acceptability of Creating Painless Animals. Linkoping University Electronic Press.
  • Digital Social Research: Methods Core

    This course provides students with the opportunity to engage with the methodological, ethical and philosophical underpinnings of quantitative and qualitative social science research practices.

  • Ethics of Biomedical Big Data. Part 1: Introduction

    Recorded: 27 April 2015

    Duration: 00:05:37

    Workshop bringing together expertise to address emerging challenges in the field, and the requirements for a European framework for ethical usage of biomedical Big Data.

  • Ethics of Biomedical Big Data. Part 3: Brent Mittelstadt

    Recorded: 27 April 2015

    Duration: 00:19:29

    Workshop bringing together expertise to address emerging challenges in the field, and the requirements for a European framework for ethical usage of biomedical Big Data.

  • Workshop: Ethics of Biomedical Big Data

    27 April 2015

    Workshop bringing together expertise to address emerging challenges in the field, and the requirements for a European framework for ethical usage of biomedical Big Data.

  • I’LL BE WATCHING YOU – PRIVACY IN A SURVEILLANCE AGE

    23 November 2015 The Ethics Centre


    Brent Mittelstadt writes about the implications of increased surveillance for privacy in the wake of Australia's new data retention law coming into effect.

  • I’ll Be Watching You – Privacy in a Surveillance Age

    12 November 2015 ethics centre


    Australia has passed a new data retention law for telecommunications providers which requires Telecoms and ISPs to retain metadata of personal communications for two years. Brent Mittelstadt considers the implications for individuals' privacy.

  • BBC Word News report on Google time lapse images

    19 May 2015 BBC World News


    Google and the University of Washington have created a set of striking time-lapse photos using publicly available photos. Brent Mittelstadt comments on the ethical issues raised by the increasing efficiency of data mining techniques.

  • Are doctors gradually becoming surplus to requirements?

    1 May 2015 ing.world


    As diagnostic health-related technology advances doctors may be seen as 'second opinions'. Brent Mittelstadt has concerns and is currently working on specific proposals to regulate companies' data collection and use.