Personal Data v. Big Data: Challenges of Commodification of Personal Data

Maria Bottis and  George Bouchagiar in the Open Journal of Philosophy: “Any firm today may, at little or no cost, build its own infrastructure to process personal data for commercial, economic, political, technological or any other purposes. Society has, therefore, turned into a privacy-unfriendly environment. The processing of personal data is essential for multiple economically and socially useful […]

Mapping Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Migration With Mobile Phone Data

Martin Echenique and Luis Melgar at CityLab: “It is well known that the U.S. Census Bureau keeps track of state-to-state migration flows. But that’s not the case with Puerto Rico. Most of the publicly known numbers related to the post-Maria diaspora from the island to the continental U.S. were driven by estimates, and neither state nor federal institutions […]

Against the Dehumanisation of Decision-Making – Algorithmic Decisions at the Crossroads of Intellectual Property, Data Protection, and Freedom of Information

Paper by Guido Noto La Diega: “Nowadays algorithms can decide if one can get a loan, is allowed to cross a border, or must go to prison. Artificial intelligence techniques (natural language processing and machine learning in the first place) enable private and public decision-makers to analyse big data in order to build profiles, which are […]

Ghost Cities: Built but Never Inhabited

Civic Data Design Lab at UrbanNext: “Ghost Cities are vacant neighborhoods and sometimes whole cities that were built but were never inhabited. Their existence is a physical manifestation of Chinese overdevelopment in real estate and the dependence on housing as an investment strategy. Little data exists which establishes the location and extent of these Ghost […]

When Technology Gets Ahead of Society

Tarun Khanna at Harvard Business Review: “Drones, originally developed for military purposes, weren’t approved for commercial use in the United States until 2013. When that happened, it was immediately clear that they could be hugely useful to a whole host of industries—and almost as quickly, it became clear that regulation would be a problem. The new […]

Developing an impact framework for cultural change in government

Jesper Christiansen at Nesta: “Innovation teams and labs around the world are increasingly being tasked with building capacity and contributing to cultural change in government. There’s also an increasing recognition that we need to go beyond projects or single structures and make innovation become a part of the way governments operate more broadly. However, there […]

Who wants to know?: The Political Economy of Statistical Capacity in Latin America

IADB paper by Dargent, Eduardo; Lotta, Gabriela; Mejía-Guerra, José Antonio; Moncada, Gilberto: “Why is there such heterogenity in the level of technical and institutional capacity in national statistical offices (NSOs)? Although there is broad consensus about the importance of statistical information as an essential input for decision making in the public and private sectors, this […]

Wikipedia vandalism could thwart hoax-busting on Google, YouTube and Facebook

Daniel Funke at Poynter: “For a brief moment, the California Republican Party supported Nazism. At least, that’s what Google said. That’s because someone vandalized the Wikipedia page for the party on May 31 to list “Nazism” alongside ideologies like “Conservatism,” “Market liberalism” and “Fiscal conservatism.” The mistake was removed from search results, with Google clarifying to […]