Liveblog: Responsible Data Forum on Hosting


/ May 14, 2014

Today we’re pleased to be holding a Responsible Data Forum on Hosting at the offices of our friends at Greenhost and Free Press Unlimited in Amsterdam. This Forum – co-hosted by Huridocs, Greenhost and the engine room – will cover issues related to responsible web hosting for advocacy data. We’ll be updating this liveblog throughout the day to keep you up to date on what we discuss and what we produce in our afternoon work sprint. Feel free to follow the discussion on Twitter today using the hashtag #responsibledata.

In our first round of discussions, we tackled:

  • the types of users we are talking about when we talk about advocacy groups who are hosting their data
  • what questions organizations should ask and what information they should have before they pick a hosting provider
  • and the balance of responsibility between a hosting provider and a user

In the afternoon, we worked on creating a number of outputs:

  • A tool that answers the question: should my website use https? (if you cannot wait, the answer is yes)
  • Questions to help you determine your hosting needs
  • A list of questions to ask your hosting provider to assess whether they fit your purpose
  • An archetypical plan for an NGO that wants to host a database containing highly sensitive information
  • You got hacked. What can you do now? A document to help you sort out manage the next steps, limit damage and protect yourself in the future.
  • You share – with Google, Twitter and others by embedding them on your website. A primer on how to discover on how to identify this sharing, and the next steps to get away from this, if you wish.

Issues that we did not cover, but would have loved to:

  • Mapping jurisdictions – what implications does it have if your data is stored in a given location?
  • Mapping the ideal (hosting/IT) infrastructure for a small NGO with little to no in-house technical capacity
  • Expand the Security-in-a-Box glossary with hosting terminology

Many of these outputs will be further polished and then published – if you see something that piques your interest and you want to lend a hand, please get in touch.

Thanks to the  Greenhost team for being wonderful hosts and contributors, and for forum contributors from equalit.ie, Internet Protection Lab, Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Huridocs, and Web Architects!

An issue map of post-its at Greenhost doubles as a ping pong table.

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About the contributor

Tom started out writing and editing for newspapers, consultancies and think tanks on topics including politics and corruption in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, then moved into designing and managing election-related projects in countries including Myanmar, Bangladesh, Rwanda and Bolivia. After getting interested in what data and technology could add in those areas and elsewhere, he made a beeline for The Engine Room. Tom is trying to read all of the Internet, but mostly spends his time picking out useful resources and trends for organisations using technology in their work.

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