If we want to tackle questions such as the real time measurement of poverty, many argued, we need to get hold of currently closed high frequency sources (from sensors to social and customer data) and this will most likely require companies to open up – at least in part – some of their data assets (incidentally, data philantrophy was also on display at the event, with QCRI and Text to Change making available some of their datasets for data scientists to delve into… kudos!).
But the conversation also took a more unexpected twist when the “data divers” mentioned the growing willingness of individuals to ‘donate’ personal data for the public good:
Could this be a promising venue to explore for development organizations?
Should we start a “donate your data” campaign targeting individuals, rather than corporations? Is some type of individual data likely to be more useful/practical to start with?
Should we perhaps steal a page from the corporate book and follow the example of, say, companies like Fitbit that encourage individuals to share their health data? And what about the Quantified Self movement: a potential ally?
Or is a more appropriate role for us to push for policy change so that we can have open, collaborative trust frameworks between individuals, governments and companies that would encourage the (willing) sharing of personal data?