An interest in etymology is always the risk of an etymological fallacy. But it’s still interesting, often revealing of politics, shifting politics at that, and sometimes worthy of a reverse gaze.
What works for me here, and it’s Kitchin’s point before it’s mine, is that ‘data’ is not innocent. ‘Data’ doesn’t speak for itself. We should be critical, not hyping; alert, not naive about it. It comes from somewhere, is gathered and processed by someone, serves particular purposes. The methods using it are implicated in it, too. So are we, when we consume it, when we live under its seeming rubrics and metrics.
Kitchin’s book is thoughtfully discussed here.