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“Big Data for Development and Humanitarian Action: Towards Responsible Governance” Report

Mila Romanoff and Siobhan O'Shea
Dec 5, 2016

In 2014, Global Pulse established a Data Privacy Advisory Group comprised of experts from public and private sector, academia and civil society from around the world. The members of the Privacy Advisory Group (PAG) engage in regular discussions on the challenges and possible solutions to privacy protective uses of big data for development and humanitarian purposes. 

Between 2015 and 2016, the Group has actively participated in discussions through a series of organised conference calls, small meetings and convened for an in-person two-day expert meeting in The Hague. The meeting was held on the eve of the 37th Conference of Data Privacy and Data Protection Commissioners to advance the dialogue on data governance and responsible use of big data. (Full agenda of the October 2015 PAG meeting in The Hague is available here.)

We are now pleased to publish a brief report on the selected issues and recommendations related to the use of big data in development and humanitarian contexts that emerged from the PAG discussions. Key topics in the report include:

  • Fragmentation of the international data privacy and data protection landscapes
  • Risk management and Assessment of Risks, Harms and Benefits
  • Principles of lawful, legitimate and fair purpose and use of data
  • Effectiveness of consent in big data analytics
  • Risks of re-identification
  • Importance of data security
  • Transparency
  • Challenges and opportunities of private-public data collaborations and data analytics


The report is available to download [PDF] or view online: