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[liberationtech] Ebola: A Big Data Disaster

Lina Srivastava lina at
Wed Mar 2 11:49:35 PST 2016

Hi all --

Is there a protocol to adding someone from off the list to a discussion
thread here? This study is fascinating and I mentioned it to a friend who
co-founded Flowminder, and I think he'd love to discuss.


On Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 12:21 PM, Sean McDonald <seanmartinmcdonald at
> wrote:

> I'm excited to present some new research: "Ebola: A Big Data Disaster
> <>," published by
> the Center for Internet & Society (with support from the Media Democracy
> Fund). 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.
> My hope is that it will kick off a larger discussion about the risks
> (legal and operational) of digitizing humanitarian response - especially
> when it involves the use of large scale, sensitive data like CDRs (all
> anonymization and re-identification caveats apply). As practice stands,
> international organizations are likely putting themselves and the people
> they help at considerable risk, in violation of human rights law, data
> protection law, local regulation, and potentially commercial property law
> (among other theories of litigation).
> This case study focuses on Liberia, which didn't turn over CDR access -
> but many of the same operational considerations and laws apply in Sierra
> Leone and Guinea, where several mobile network operators did.
> I'd love any thoughts, connections to people working on these issues, or
> critical feedback.
> Best,
> Sean
> --
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Lina Srivastava
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