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New Organization, Data Justice, to Work on Society's Big Data Problem

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, March 17 2015

Lady Justice (LonPicMan/Wikipedia)

Yesterday saw the public launch of Data Justice, a new organization dedicated to promoting economic justice in our data-driven society. Simultaneous with the announcement, the organization released its first report, “Taking on Big Data as an Economic Justice Issue,” written by Data Justice director Nathan Newman.

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First POST: Shredding

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, March 13 2015

Official net neutrality rules are here; Governor Andrew Cuomo 90-day deletion policy is an "electronic shredder"; the FBI's Terrorism Task Force was tasked with a #BlackLivesMatter protest; take this stop-and-frisk data and run with it; and much, much more. Read More

In NYC, Emergency Services Are Going Wireless--But Imagine What They'd Be Like With Fast Fiber

BY Susan Crawford | Thursday, August 14 2014

Now, with better and far more timely data, increasingly accurate and better targeted interventions, and coordination with the other medical systems that patients encounter, FDNY EMS is pushing the country towards a telemedicine future, writes Harvard Law Professor Susan Crawford. Read More


Weekly Readings: Decoy Data

BY Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao | Monday, June 16 2014

An app the emits false data; Burkina Faso, poor but data rich?; Social media bans in Iraq; and much much more Read More


How Do They Do It? International Mentors Share Tactics at the engine room SkillShare

BY the engine room | Friday, May 30 2014

Photo CC BY 2.0 by C!…

Last week we held an online skillshare on how to successfully manage a mentorship process. The focus was on tactics and experiences supporting advocacy organizations who are exploring how to use technology and data in their work. We were lucky to have four experienced mentors, and the expertise and interest of K-Monitor who is in the process of setting up a mentorship program with 10 NGOs in Hungary.

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Airbnb Gives Up New York Data, Won't Give Up Regulatory Fight

BY Sam Roudman | Thursday, May 22 2014

Just over a week ago, Airbnb public policy honcho David Hantman wrote a note to users titled "Good News In New York." A wide reaching request for user data in New York by the attorney general had been defeated. "This is a great victory for our community," wrote Hantman. Over a week later, the victory is over. While Airbnb loses for now, the company and its opponents are readying for a larger battle about the New York law that regulates short term rentals. Read More


EU Court Rules Google Must Remove Search Listings Under "Right to Be Forgotten"

BY Rebecca Chao | Tuesday, May 13 2014

A European court ruled today that citizens have the "right to be forgotten" or that they can request that certain private information be removed from online searches. The ruling comes amidst an EU proposal to reform data protection laws that began in 2012. Read More


Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, April 14 2014

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

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The Fingerprints of a Drone Strike

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, March 19 2014

A woman works with a forensic architect in recreating the scene of a drone strike in Waziristan (Forensic Architecture)

A woman dressed in a black hijab is highlighted by the glare from a computer screen as she works with forensic architects in digitally recreating her home, the scene of a drone strike in Mir Ali, North Waziristan, Pakistan where five men, one of them her brother-in-law, were directly hit and killed on Oct. 4, 2010. This is the spot where she had laid out a rug in the courtyard, she explains, and where her guests sat one evening when the missile dove into their circle, leaving a blackened dent in the ground and scattering flesh that later, she and her husband had to pick up from off of the ground so they could bury their dead. Morbidly, the reconstruction of a drone strike is similar – the gathering of flecks of information when nothing else is available: through satellite imagery and video, the length of a building’s shadow, the pattern of shrapnel marks on a wall, and the angle of a photo, can help forensic architects determine where a missile struck and determine how it led to civilian deaths. Read More


Using Data and Statistics to Bring Down Dictators

BY Federico Guerrini | Monday, March 10 2014

War Graves in Kosovo (credit: NH53/flickr)

On September 20, 2013, in Guatemala, the former director of the National Police of Guatemala, Col. Héctor Bol de la Cruz, and his subordinate Jorge Alberto Gómez López were convicted for the abduction and presumed murder of student and labor leader Edgar Fernando García, who disappeared in 1984, during the conflict that devastated the South American country between 1960 and 1996. Three years earlier, two lower ranking officers were also convicted for the crime. The convictions were made possible thanks to the work of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that uses statistical analysis to support the cause of human rights. Read More