Paper by Mark Roberts: “Over the last decade, nighttime lights – artificial lighting at night that is associated with human activity and can be detected by satellite sensors – have become a proxy for monitoring economic activity. To examine how the COVID-19 crisis has affected economic activity in Morocco, we calculated monthly lights estimates for both the country overall and at a sub-national level. By examining the intensity of Morocco’s lights in comparison with the quarterly GDP data at the national level, we are also able to confirm that nighttime lights are able to track movements in real economic activity for Morocco….(More)”.
Paper by P Alison Paprica et al: “Increasingly, the label “data trust” is being applied to repeatable mechanisms or approaches to sharing data in a timely, fair, safe and equitable way. However, there is a gap in terms of practical guidance about how to establish and operate a data trust.
In December 2019, the Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence convened a working meeting of 19 people representing 15 Canadian organizations/initiatives involved in data sharing, most of which focus on public sector health data. The objective was to identify essential requirements for the establishment and operation of data trusts. Preliminary findings were presented during the meeting then refined as participants and co-authors identified relevant literature and contributed to this manuscript.
Twelve (12) minimum specification requirements (“min specs”) for data trusts were identified. The foundational min spec is that data trusts must meet all legal requirements, including legal authority to collect, hold or share data. In addition, there was agreement that data trusts must have (i) an accountable governing body which ensures the data trust advances its stated purpose and is transparent, (ii) comprehensive data management including responsible parties and clear processes for the collection, storage, access, disclosure and use of data, (iii) training and accountability requirements for all data users and (iv) ongoing public and stakeholder engagement.
Based on a review of the literature and advice from participants from 15 Canadian organizations/initiatives, practical guidance in the form of twelve min specs for data trusts were agreed on. Public engagement and continued exchange of insights and experience is recommended on this evolving topic…(More)”.
Report by Andrej Verity and Irene Solaiman: “Data collection and storage are becoming increasingly digital. In the humanitarian sector, data motivates action, informing organizations who then determine priorities and resource allocation in crises.
“Humanitarians are dependent on technology and on the Internet. When life-saving aid isn’t delivered on time and to the right beneficiaries, people can die.” -Brookings
In the age of information and cyber warfare, humanitarian organizations must take measures to protect civilians, especially those in critical and vulnerable positions.
“Data privacy and ensuring protection from harm, including the provision of data security, are therefore fundamentally linked—and neither can be realized without the other.” -The Signal Code
Information in the wrong hands can risk lives or even force aid organizations to shut down. For example, in 2009, Sudan expelled over a dozen international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that were deemed key to maintaining a lifeline to 4.7 million people in western Darfur. The expulsion occurred after the Sudanese Government collected Internet-accessible information that made leadership fear international criminal charges. Responsible data protection is a crucial component of cybersecurity. As technology develops, so do threats and data vulnerabilities. Emerging technologies such as blockchain provide further security to sensitive information and overall data storage. Still, with new technologies come considerations for implementation…(More)”.
Report by Eduardo Laguna-Muggenburg, Shreyan Sen and Eric Lewandowski: “Urbanization processes in the developing world are often associated with the creation of informal settlements. These areas frequently have few or no public services exacerbating inequality even in the context of substantial economic growth.
In the past, the high costs of gathering data through traditional surveying methods made it challenging to study how these under-served areas evolve through time and in relation to the metropolitan area to which they belong. However, the advent of mobile phones and smartphones in particular presents an opportunity to generate new insights on these old questions.
In June 2019, Orbital Insight and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Arab States Human Development Report team launched a collaborative pilot program assessing the feasibility of using geolocation data to understand patterns of life among the urban poor in Cairo, Egypt.
The objectives of this collaboration were to assess feasibility (and conditionally pursue preliminary analysis) of geolocation data to create near-real time population density maps, understand where residents of informal settlements tend to work during the day, and to classify universities by percentage of students living in informal settlements.
The report is organized as follows. In Section 2 we describe the data and its limitations. In Section 3 we briefly explain the methodological background. Section 4 summarizes the insights derived from the data for the Egyptian context. Section 5 concludes….(More)”.
Book edited by Ashu M. G. Solo: “Technology and particularly the Internet have caused many changes in the realm of politics. Aspects of engineering, computer science, mathematics, or natural science can be applied to politics. Politicians and candidates use their own websites and social network profiles to get their message out. Revolutions in many countries in the Middle East and North Africa have started in large part due to social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Social networking has also played a role in protests and riots in numerous countries. The mainstream media no longer has a monopoly on political commentary as anybody can set up a blog or post a video online. Now, political activists can network together online.
The Handbook of Research on Politics in the Computer Age is a pivotal reference source that serves to increase the understanding of methods for politics in the computer age, the effectiveness of these methods, and tools for analyzing these methods. The book includes research chapters on different aspects of politics with information technology, engineering, computer science, or math, from 27 researchers at 20 universities and research organizations in Belgium, Brazil, Cape Verde, Egypt, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, and the United States of America. Highlighting topics such as online campaigning and fake news, the prospective audience includes, but is not limited to, researchers, political and public policy analysts, political scientists, engineers, computer scientists, political campaign managers and staff, politicians and their staff, political operatives, professors, students, and individuals working in the fields of politics, e-politics, e-government, new media and communication studies, and Internet marketing….(More)”.
By Alexandra Shaw, Andrew Zahuranec, Andrew Young, Stefaan Verhulst
The Living Library Index–inspired by the Harper’s Index–provides important statistics and highlights global trends in governance innovation. This installment focuses on public perceptions regarding secondary uses of personal data (or the re-use of data initially collected for a different purpose). It provides a summary of societal perspectives toward personal data usage, sharing, and control. It is not meant to be comprehensive–rather, it intends to illustrate conflicting, and often confusing, attitudes toward the re-use of personal data.
Please share any additional, illustrative statistics on data, or other issues at the nexus of technology and governance, with us at email@example.com
Data ownership and control
- Percentage of Americans who say it is “very important” they control information collected about them: 74% – 2016
- Americans who think that today’s privacy laws are not good enough at protecting people’s privacy online: 68% – 2016
- Americans who say they have “a lot” of control over how companies collect and use their information: 9% – 2015
- In a survey of 507 online shoppers, the number of respondents who indicated they don’t want brands tracking their location: 62% – 2015
- In a survey of 507 online shoppers, the amount who “prefer offers that are targeted to where they are and what they are doing:” 60% – 2015
- Number of surveyed American consumers willing to provide data to corporations under the following conditions:
- “Data about my social concerns to better connect me with non-profit organizations that advance those causes:” 19% – 2018
- “Data about my DNA to help me uncover any hereditary illnesses:” 21% – 2018
- “Data about my interests and hobbies to receive relevant information and offers from online sellers:” 32% – 2018
- “Data about my location to help me find the fastest route to my destination:” 40% – 2018
- “My email address to receive exclusive offers from my favorite brands:” 56% – 2018
- Academic study participants willing to donate personal data to research if it could lead to public good: 60% – 2014
- Academic study participants willing to share personal data for research purposes in the interest of public good: 25% – 2014
- Percentage who expect companies to “treat [them] like an individual, not as a member of some segment like ‘millennials’ or ‘suburban mothers:’” 74% – 2018
- Percentage who believe that brands should understand a “consumer’s individual situation (e.g. marital status, age, location, etc.)” when they’re being marketed to: 70% – 2018 Number who are “more annoyed” by companies now compared to 5 years ago: 40% – 2018Percentage worried their data is shared across companies without their permission: 88% – 2018Amount worried about a brand’s ability to track their behavior while on the brand’s website, app, or neither: 75% – 2018
- Consumers globally who expect brands to anticipate needs before they arise: 33% – 2018
- Surveyed residents of the United Kingdom who identify as:
- “Data pragmatists” willing to share personal data “under the right circumstances:” 58% – 2017
- “Fundamentalists,” who would not share personal data for better services: 24% – 2017
- Respondents who think data sharing is part of participating in the modern economy: 62% – 2018
- Respondents who believe that data sharing benefits enterprises more than consumers: 75% – 2018
- People who want more control over their data that enterprises collect: 84% – 2018
- Percentage “unconcerned” about personal data protection: 18% – 2018
- Percentage of Americans who think that government should do more to regulate large technology companies: 55% – 2018
- Registered American voters who trust broadband companies with personal data “a great deal” or “a fair amount”: 43% – 2017
- Americans who report experiencing a major data breach: 64% – 2017
- Number of Americans who believe that their personal data is less secure than it was 5 years ago: 49% – 2019
- Amount of surveyed American citizens who consider trust in a company an important factor for sharing data: 54% – 2018
Microsoft’s 2015 Consumer Data Value Exchange Report attempts to understand consumer attitudes on the exchange of personal data across the global markets of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Spain, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States. From their survey of 16,500 users, they find:
- The most popular incentives for sharing data are:
- Respondents who would prefer to see more ads to get new services: 34% – 2015
- Respondents willing to share search terms for a service that enabled fewer steps to get things done: 70% – 2015
- Respondents willing to share activity data for such an improvement: 82% – 2015
- Respondents willing to share their gender for “a service that inspires something new based on others like them:” 79% – 2015
A 2015 Pew Research Center survey presented Americans with several data-sharing scenarios related to convenience. Participants could respond: “acceptable,” “it depends,” or “not acceptable” to the following scenarios:
- Share health information to get access to personal health records and arrange appointments more easily:
- Share data for discounted auto insurance rates:
- Share data for free social media services:
- Share data on smart thermostats for cheaper energy bills:
- Surveyed banking and insurance customers who would exchange personal data for:
- Surveyed banking and insurance customers willing to share data specifically related to income, location and lifestyle habits to:
- In a survey of over 7,000 members of the public around the globe, respondents indicated:
- They thought “smartphone and tablet apps used for navigation, chat, and news that can access your contacts, photos, and browsing history” is “creepy;” 16% – 2016
- Emailing a friend about a trip to Paris and receiving advertisements for hotels, restaurants and excursions in Paris is “creepy:” 32% – 2016
- A free fitness-tracking device that monitors your well-being and sends a monthly report to you and your employer is “creepy:” 45% – 2016
- A telematics device that allows emergency services to track your vehicle is “creepy:” 78% – 2016
- The number of British residents who do not want to work with virtual agents of any kind: 48% – 2017
- Americans who disagree that “if companies give me a discount, it is a fair exchange for them to collect information about me without my knowing”: 91% – 2015
Data Brokers, Intermediaries, and Third Parties
- Americans who consider it acceptable for a grocery store to offer a free loyalty card in exchange for selling their shopping data to third parties: 47% – 2016
- Number of people who know that “searches, site visits and purchases” are reviewed without consent: 55% – 2015
- The number of people in 1991 who wanted companies to ask them for permission first before collecting their personal information and selling that data to intermediaries: 93% – 1991
- Number of Americans who “would be very concerned if the company at which their data were stored sold it to another party:” 90% – 2008
- Percentage of Americans who think it’s unacceptable for their grocery store to share their shopping data with third parties in exchange for a free loyalty card: 32% – 2016
- Percentage of Americans who think that government needs to do more to regulate advertisers: 64% – 2016
- Registered American voters who are “somewhat uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable” with companies like Internet service providers or websites using personal data to recommend stories, articles, or videos: 56% – 2017
- Registered American voters who are “somewhat uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable” with companies like Internet service providers or websites selling their personal information to third parties for advertising purposes: 64% – 2017
Personal Health Data
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2014 Health Data Exploration Project Report analyzes attitudes about personal health data (PHD). PHD is self-tracking data related to health that is traceable through wearable devices and sensors. The three major stakeholder groups involved in using PHD for public good are users, companies that track the users’ data, and researchers.
- Overall Respondents:
- Percentage who believe anonymity is “very” or “extremely” important: 67% – 2014
- Percentage who “probably would” or “definitely would” share their personal data with researchers: 78% – 2014
- Percentage who believe that they own—or should own—all the data about them, even when it is indirectly collected: 54% – 2014
- Percentage who think they share or ought to share ownership with the company: 30% – 2014
- Percentage who think companies alone own or should own all the data about them: 4% – 2014
- Percentage for whom data ownership “is not something I care about”: 13% – 2014
- Percentage who indicated they wanted to own their data: 75% – 2014
- Percentage who would share data only if “privacy were assured:” 68% – 2014
- People who would supply data regardless of privacy or compensation: 27% – 2014
- Percentage of participants who mentioned privacy, anonymity, or confidentiality when asked under what conditions they would share their data: 63% – 2014
- Percentage who would be “more” or “much more” likely to share data for compensation: 56% – 2014
- Percentage who indicated compensation would make no difference: 38% – 2014
- Amount opposed to commercial or profit-making use of their data: 13% – 2014
- Percentage of people who would only share personal health data with a guarantee of:
- Surveyed Researchers:
- Percentage who agree or strongly agree that self-tracking data would help provide more insights in their research: 89% – 2014
- Percentage who say PHD could answer questions that other data sources could not: 95% – 2014
- Percentage who have used public datasets: 57% – 2014
- Percentage who have paid for data for research: 19% – 2014
- Percentage who have used self-tracking data before for research purposes: 46% – 2014
- Percentage who have worked with application, device, or social media companies: 23% – 2014
- Percentage who “somewhat disagree” or “strongly disagree” there are barriers that cannot be overcome to using self-tracking data in their research: 82% – 2014
“Americans’ Views About Data Collection and Security”, Pew Research Center, 2015.
“Data Donation: Sharing Personal Data for Public Good?”, ResearchGate, 2014.
“Data privacy: What the consumer really thinks,” Acxiom, 2018.
“Exclusive: Public wants Big Tech regulated”, Axios, 2018.
“Consumer data value exchange,” Microsoft, 2015.
“Crossing the Line: Staying on the right side of consumer privacy,” KPMG International Cooperative, 2016.
“How do you feel about the government sharing our personal data? – livechat”, The Guardian, 2017.
“Personal data for public good: using health information in medical research”, The Academy of Medical Sciences, 2006.
“Personal Data for the Public Good: New Opportunities to Enrich Understanding of Individual and Population Health”, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Health Data Exploration Project, Calit2, UC Irvine and UC San Diego, 2014.
“Pew Internet and American Life Project: Cloud Computing Raises Privacy Concerns”, Pew Research Center, 2008.
“Poll: Little Trust That Tech Giants Will Keep Personal Data Private”, Morning Consult & Politico, 2017.
“Privacy and Information Sharing”, Pew Research Center, 2016.
“Privacy, Data and the Consumer: What US Thinks About Sharing Data”, MarTech Advisor, 2018.
“Public Opinion on Privacy”, Electronic Privacy Information Center, 2019.
“Selligent Marketing Cloud Study Finds Consumer Expectations and Marketer Challenges are Rising in Tandem”, Selligent Marketing Cloud, 2018.
“Microsoft Research reveals understanding gap in the brand-consumer data exchange,” Microsoft Research, 2015.
“Survey: 58% will share personal data under the right circumstances”, Marketing Land: Third Door Media, 2019.
“The state of privacy in post-Snowden America”, Pew Research Center, 2016.
The Tradeoff Fallacy: How Marketers Are Misrepresenting American Consumers And Opening Them Up to Exploitation”, University of Pennsylvania, 2015.
Devin Coldewey at TechCrunch: “A new map of nearly all of Africa shows exactly where the continent’s 1.3 billion people live, down to the meter, which could help everyone from local governments to aid organizations. The map joins others like it from
It’s not exactly that there was some mystery about where people live, but the degree of precision matters. You may know that a million people live in a given region, and that about half are in the bigger city and another quarter in assorted towns. But that leaves hundreds of thousands only accounted for in the vaguest way.
Fortunately, you can always inspect satellite imagery and pick out the spots where small villages and isolated houses and communities are located. The only problem is that Africa is big. Really big. Manually labeling the satellite imagery even from a single mid-sized country like Gabon or Malawi would take a huge amount of time and effort. And for many applications of the data, such as coordinating the response to a natural disaster or distributing vaccinations, time lost is lives lost.
Better to get it all done at once then, right? That’s the idea behind Facebook’s Population Density Maps project, which had already mapped several countries over the last couple of years before the decision was made to take on the entire African continent….
“The maps from Facebook ensure we focus our volunteers’ time and resources on the places they’re most needed, improving the efficacy of our programs,” said Tyler Radford, executive director of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, one of the project’s partners.
The core idea is straightforward: Match census data (how many people live in a region) with structure data derived from satellite imagery to get a much better idea of where those people are located.
“With just the census data, the best you can do is assume that people live everywhere in the district – buildings, fields, and forests alike,” said Facebook engineer James Gill. “But once you know the building locations, you can skip the fields and forests and only allocate the population to the buildings. This gives you very detailed 30 meter by 30 meter population maps.”
That’s several times more accurate than any extant population map of this size. The analysis is done by a machine learning agent trained on OpenStreetMap data from all over the world, where people have labeled and outlined buildings and other features.
Blog by Stephen King and Paige Nicol: “With a few months under our belts, 2019 looks unlikely to be the year of a great global turnaround for democracy. The decade of democratic ‘recession’ that Larry Diamond declared in 2015 has dragged on and deepened, and may now be teetering on the edge of becoming a full-blown depression.
The start of each calendar year is marked by the release of annual indices, rankings, and reports on how democracy is faring around the world. 2018 reports from Freedom House and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) highlighted precipitous declines in civil liberties in long-standing democracies as well as authoritarian states. Some groups, including migrants, women, ethnic and other minorities, opposition politicians, and journalists have been particularly affected by these setbacks. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the number of journalists murdered nearly doubled last year, while the number imprisoned remained above 250 for the third consecutive year.
Yet, the EIU also found a considerable increase in political participation worldwide. Levels of participation (including voting, protesting, and running for elected office, among other dimensions) increased substantially enough last year to offset falling scores in the other four categories of the index. Based on the methodology used, the rise in political participation was significant enough to prevent a decline in the global overall score for democracy for the first time in three years.
Though this development could give cause for optimism we believe it could also raise new concerns.
In Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Venezuela we see people who, through desperation and frustration, have taken to the streets – a form of participation which has been met with brutal crackdowns. Time has yet to tell what the ultimate outcome of these protests will be, but it is clear that governments with autocratic tendencies have more – and cheaper – tools to monitor, direct, control, and suppress participation than ever before.
Elsewhere, we see a danger of people becoming dislocated and disenchanted with democracy, as their representatives fail to take meaningful action on the issues that matter to them. In the UK Parliament, as Brexit discussions have become increasingly polarised and fractured along party political and ideological lines, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned that there was a threat of social unrest if Parliament was seen to be frustrating the ‘will of the people.’
While we see enhanced participation as crucial to just and fair societies, it alone will not be the silver bullet that saves democracy. Whether this trend becomes a cause for hope or concern will depend on three factors: who is participating, what form does participation take, and how is participation received by those with power?…(More)”.
Article by Eduardo Alejandro Martínez Ceseña, Joseph Mutale, Mathaios Panteli, and Pierluigi Mancarella in The Conversation: “Access to reliable and affordable electricity brings many benefits. It supports the growth of small businesses, allows students to study at night and protects health by offering an alternative cooking fuel to coal or wood.
This is mainly because there’s not enough sustained investment in electricity infrastructure, many systems can’t reliably support energy consumption or the price of electricity is too high.
Innovation is often seen as the way forward. For instance, cheaper and cleaner technologies, like solar storage systems deployed through mini grids, can offer a more affordable and reliable option. But, on their own, these solutions aren’t enough.
To design the best systems, planners must know where on- or off-grid systems should be placed, how big they need to be and what type of energy should be used for the most effective impact.
The problem is reliable data – like village size and energy demand – needed for rural energy planning is scarce or non-existent. Some can be estimated from records of human activities – like farming or access to schools and hospitals – which can show energy needs. But many developing countries have to rely on human activity data from incomplete and poorly maintained national census. This leads to inefficient planning.
In sub-Saharan Africa, there are more people with mobile phones than access to electricity, as people are willing to commute to get a signal and/or charge their phones.
This means that there’s an abundance of data – that’s constantly updated and available even in areas that haven’t been electrified – that could be used to
We were able to use mobile data to develop a countrywide electrification strategy for Senegal. Although Senegal has one of the highest access to electricity rates in sub-Saharan Africa, just 38% of people in rural areas have access.
By using mobile data we were able to identify the approximate size of rural villages and access to education and health facilities. This information was then used to size and cost different electrification options and select the most economic one for each zone – whether villages should be connected to the grids, or where off-grid systems – like solar battery systems – were a better option.
To collect the data we randomly selected mobile phone data from 450,000 users from Senegal’s main
Report by Jean-Paul Van Belle et al: ” The Africa Data Revolution Report 2018 delves into the recent evolution and current state of open data – with an emphasis on Open Government Data – in the African data communities. It explores key countries across the continent, researches a wide range of open data initiatives, and benefits from global thematic expertise. This second edition improves on process, methodology and collaborative partnerships from the first edition.
It draws from country reports, existing global and continental initiatives, and key experts’ input, in order to provide a deep analysis of the
actual impact of open data in the African context. In particular, this report features a dedicated Open Data Barometer survey as well as a special 2018
Africa Open Data Index regional edition surveying the status and impact of open data and dataset availability in 30 African countries. The research is complemented with six in-depth qualitative case studies featuring the impact of open data in Kenya, South Africa (Cape Town), Ghana, Rwanda, Burkina Faso
Findings: In some governments, there is a slow iterative cycle between innovation, adoption, resistance
The role of open data intermediaries is crucial and has been insufficiently recognized in the African context. Open data in Africa needs a vibrant, dynamic, open and multi-tier data ecosystem if the datasets are to make a real impact. Citizens are rarely likely to access open data themselves. But the democratization of information and communication platforms has opened up opportunities among a large and diverse set of intermediaries to explore and combine relevant data sources, sometimes with private or leaked data. The news media, NGOs and advocacy groups, and to a much lesser extent academics and social or profit-driven entrepreneurs have shown that OGD can create
The report encourages national
data in Africa on the basis of this research. Other stakeholders working with or for open data can