White Paper on the use of Big Data in Low and Middle Income Countries
This white paper was produced by a group of activists, researchers and data experts who met at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre to discuss the question of whether, and how, big data is becoming a resource for positive social change in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Our working definition of big data includes, but is not limited to, sources such as social media, mobile phone use, digitally mediated transactions, the online news media, and administrative records.
Our analysis makes a strong case that it is time for civil society groups in particular to become part of the conversation about the power of data. These groups are the connectors between individuals and governments, corporations and governance institutions, and have the potential to promote big data analysis that is locally driven and rooted. Civil society groups are also crucially important but currently underrepresented in debates about privacy and the rights of technology users, and civil society as a whole has a responsibility for building critical awareness of the ways big data is being used to sort, categorise and intervene in LMICs by corporations, governments and other actors. Big data is shaping up to be one of the key battlefields of our era, incorporating many of the issues civil society activists worldwide have been working on for decades. We hope that this paper can inform organisations and individuals as to where their particular interests may gain traction in the debate, and what their contribution may look like.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: big data, developing world, social good, civil society, internet