‘Anonymized Big Data’ Could Help Achieve Health, Development Goals

Thomson Reuters Foundation: How big data analytics can fuel positive societal change and development
Joakim Reiter, external affairs director at Vodafone Group

“…At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, the Vodafone Foundation announced a pioneering program in Ghana to use aggregated anonymized data to help the government track and control epidemics to prevent widespread outbreaks. The program, one of the first of its kind in the world, will use aggregated anonymized mobile data to track real-time trends in population movement. The data is then analyzed to provide life-saving insights during an epidemic. The program is a good example of how big data can be used to gather valuable insights, which the government of Ghana can apply to a number of health and other sustainable development challenges, saving and improving lives. … Governments and humanitarian organizations have only just begun exploiting the potential of big data to improve decision-making. While measuring the impact of these data-driven decisions will be essential to make the case for long-term investment in big data innovations, governments and NGOs trying to solve societal issues should be assessing whether unlocking the power of anonymized big data could provide the answer to their problems” (2/28).

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