Big Data, and Ebola: upcoming responsible data community call

/ March 14, 2016

There will be a responsible data community call on Tuesday 15th March, at 8am PST/11am EST/3pm GMT (find your time) leading on from the recently published Ebola: A Big Data disaster paper. Listen online here.

A few days ago, Sean McDonald of Frontline SMS, together with CIS India published a paper called Ebola: A Big Data disaster. In his words, it’s:

a look at the way that technology was used during the Ebola response – with a focus on Call Detail Records, the experimental nature of data modeling in humanitarian response, and how that likely violates West Africa’s well-developed (but under-implemented) data laws.

TL:DR – the current way that many information systems/reporting structures in the humanitarian space are architected may be operationally unsound and illegal, leaving organizations we love open to legal challenges.

He shared it round on the Responsible Data mailing list, and a vibrant conversation ensued; turns out, he’s not the only one thinking about responsible data issues when it comes to data around the Ebola crisis, and other major health epidemics.

To summarise what turned out to be a long email thread, tomorrow, Tuesday 15th March, there will be a community call on the topic of his paper, and related issues, facilitated by Willow Brugh of Aspiration Tech, hosted by O’Reilly

The call will be taking place at 8 a.m. PST/11 a.m. EST/3 p.m. GMT(UTC)/6 p.m. EAT (please note the time zone switch in the US last weekend!).

To watch the call, please go to:

And you can follow notes online here:

About the contributor

Zara is a researcher, writer and linguist who is interested in the intersection of power, culture and technology. She has worked in over twenty countries in the field of information accessibility and data use among civil society. She was the first employee at OpenOil, looking into open data in the extractive industries, then worked for Open Knowledge, working with School of Data on data literacy for journalists and civil society. She now works with communities and organisations to help understand how new uses of data can responsibly strengthen their work.

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