July 2020 (Spanish)

Berenice Fernández Nieto, Brennan Lake, Diego Vazquez, Guillermo Romero, Julie Ricard, Luis García Rueda, Milena Dovalí Delgado & Rodrigo Lara Molina

“Mundos paralelos” es un proyecto desarrollado por Data-Pop Alliance y Oxfam México, cuyo propósito es analizar la desigualdad en la Ciudad de México, utilizando datos de movilidad proporcionados por el programa Data for Good de Cuebiq. Se tomó como estudio de caso la forma en cómo dos sectores socioeconómicos opuestos (los “mundos paralelos”) se apropian de los espacios que conforman la urbe y la posibilidad de encuentro entre estos dos mundos económica y geográficamente distantes. El informe analiza tres dimensiones de la desigualdad: i) en el acceso a la educación, ii) el derecho a la ciudad, mediante el análisis de espacios de carácter exclusivo, y iii) en el acceso a la cultura.

July 2020

Data-Pop Alliance,
Sustainable Digital Finance Alliance
& Inquiry

Alipay Ant Forest, launched by Ant Financial in 2016, is a green initiative embedded on Alipay’s digital lifestyle platform. This report analyzes Alipay’s Ant Forest trajectory as a green digital innovation that has achieved exponential growth over the past three years. Ir further models the implications that scaling a platform such as Ant Forest could catalyze in additional countries. The analysis estimates that up to 8.6% of emissions tied to public transportation could be avoided in the seven countries modeled over the 2020-2030 period.

June 2020

Emmanuel Letouzé, Patrick Vinck, Tatiana Goetghebuer, Katia Duhamel, Julie Ricard, Konstantin Gruev. Romain Fourmy, Maria Antonia Bravo, Andres Lozano. 

This report is a collaboration between the European Commission, ADE y Data-Pop Alliance

Digitalisation has been a highly strategic area since the turn of the Century. During that time,
Sub-Saharan Africa has seen the emergence of many new actors in its digital ecosystems.
Ensuring that the development of these systems put humans at the forefront, whilst actively promoting data sovereignty, privacy, and inclusivity, is a matter of great importance. This study presents an assessment of the European Union’s external cooperation for development in the cross-cutting field of digitalisation in SSA and lessons learnt and recommendations to inform current and future cooperation work.

December 2019

Gabriel Pestre, Emmanuel Letouzé & Emilio Zagheni

CDRs (Call Detail Records) represent an important and largely untapped source of data for the developing world. However, they are not representative of the underlying population. We combine CDRs and census data for Senegal in 2013 to evaluate biases related to estimates of population density. We show that: (i) there are systematic relationships between cell-phone use and socio-economic and geographic characteristics that can be leveraged to improve estimates of population density; (ii) when no ‘ground truth’ data is available, a difference-in-difference approach can be used to reduce bias and infer relative changes over time in population size; (iii) indicators of development can be monitored by integrating census data and CDRs.

November 2019

Emmanuel Letouzé & Nuria Oliver, Data-Pop Alliance in cooperation with the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications

How data are shared and used will determine, to a large extent, the future of democracy and human progress. In this context, the authors of the paper “Sharing is Caring” describe four key requirements that must inform European efforts to ensure that private data are shared and used for the public good in a safe, ethical, and sustainable manner. This paper is part of the “Digitising Europe” initiative and part of a series of discussion papers that are focussed on the challenges of European digital policy.

November 2019

Members of Data-Pop contributed to this report including Emma Samman, Emmanuel Letouzé and Nuria Oliver 

This report presents findings from an in-depth study of women’s engagement in the gig economy in Kenya and South Africa, two middle-income countries at the forefront of developments in digitally mediated work in sub-Saharan Africa. It aims to understand the impact of this engagement on workers’ lives, considering the quality of work on offer and its implications for workers’ management of paid work and unpaid care and domestic work.


Documentos 1 & 2: Viviana Cañón, Andrés Clavijo, Luis Godoy, Emmanuel Letouzé, Gabriel Pestre, Julie Ricard

Documento 3Emmanuel Letouzé, Alex Pentland, Isabella Loaiza, Julie Ricard, Andrés Clavijo, Nicolas de Ligny, Daniel Rodríguez, Orlando Saavedra, Luisa García, Maria Antonia Bravo y Mónica Moreno 

Documento 4: Emmanuel Letouzé, Alex Pentland, Maria Antonia Bravo, Isabella Loaiza, Julie Ricard, Andrés Clavijo, Diego Silva

A continuación presentamos el proyecto de Diseño e Implementación de la Estrategia de Big Data para el Estado Colombiano realizado por MIT y Data-Pop Alliance desde el 2017, para la Dirección de Proyectos Estratégicos de iNNpulsa, entidad que promueve la innovación, el emprendimiento y el desarrollo empresarial para el fortalecimiento de la competitividad en Colombia.

October 2019

Vanessa Higgins, Valentina Casabuenas, Julie Ricard and Jackie Carter. This scoping phase is funded by the University of Manchester through GCRF (Global Challenges Research Funding) 

EmpoderaData builds upon the success of the Q-Step paid internship programme from the University of Manchester. The project aims to promote a virtuous cycle of social transformation by fostering data literacy. The purpose of this report is threefold: (1) understand the unmet needs in terms of data literacy skills, (2) recognize to what extent might a data literacy capacity building model can be helpful to develop these skills and last to dig up (3) in the current state regarding data availability for monitoring and evaluation of the SDGs in the three countries. 

"Big Data para o bem comum"

Agosto 2019

Julie Ricard, Silvia Rodrigues Follador

Desde o início do século XX, a maioria de nossas ações e interações tem sido mediada e capturada por dispositivos eletrônicos. Os rastros de dados deixados pelo caminho resultam no que foi batizado de big data. Embora a exploração do big data tenha sido desenvolvida por gigantes da internet, que transformaram a mineração dessas migalhas digitais em uma de suas principais fontes de lucro, o interesse em entender como novas fontes de dados e tecnologias podem ser empregadas na formulação de políticas públicas e no desenvolvimento sustentável tem aumentado de maneira significativa.

"Harnessing Innovative Data and Technology to Measure Development Effectiveness"

May 2019

Emmanuel Letouzé, Micol Stock, Francesca De Chiara, Alberto Lizzi and Carlos Mazariegos

In this study, the authors discuss and show how new kinds of digital data and analytics methods and tools falling under the umbrella term of Big Data, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems, can help measure development effectiveness. Selected case studies provide examples of assessments of the effectiveness of ODA-funded policies and programmes. 

"Evaluación de nuevas herramientas y técnicas del big data para proyectos del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo"

April 2019

Emmanuel Letouzé & Nicolás de Ligny Tandefelt

El presente estudio identifica herramientas innovadoras de Big Data a partir de casos de estudios basados en cinco proyectos en vía de implementación por el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID) en los países de la Comunidad Andina (CAN) con el fin de que nuevas tecnologías puedan ser aprovechadas e implementadas en estos u otros proyectos de inversión de la región. De esta manera, se analizan proyectos de diversas áreas estratégicas, con objetivos y contextos locales diferentes. Los equipos operacionales y representantes de cada país estudiado fueron consultados sobre los avances del proyecto, así como sobre las necesidades específicas para proponer herramientas que puedan ser adoptadas de manera realista y generen un impacto concreto. 

"Big Data to Address Global Development Challenges" - Paper Series

March 2019

Paper 1Bessie Schwarz, Beth Tellman, Jonathan Sullivan, Catherine Kuhn, Richa Mahtta, Bhartendu Pandey, Laura Hammett*, Gabriel Pestre

Paper 2:  Marco De Nadai, Emmanuel Letouzé, Marta C. González, Bruno Lepri

Paper 3Sveta Milusheva, Elisabeth zu Erbach-Schoenberg, Linus Bengtsson, Erik Wetter, Andy Tatem

Paper 4Rodrigo Lara Molina, Alejandro Noriega, Eaman Jahani, Julie Ricard, Alex Pentland


Editors: Albert Ali Salah,  Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland, Bruno Lepri and Emmanuel Letouzé 

This book summarizes the most important findings of the Data for Refugees (D4R) Challenge, which was a non-profit project initiated to improve the conditions of the Syrian refugees in Turkey by providing a database for the scientific community to enable research on urgent problems concerning refugees. The database, based on anonymized mobile call detail records (CDRs) of phone calls and SMS messages of one million Turk Telekom customers, indicates the broad activity and mobility patterns of refugees and citizens in Turkey for the year 1 January to 31 December 2017. Over 100 teams from around the globe applied to take part in the challenge, and 61 teams were granted access to the data.


Emmanuel Letouzé, contribution pour le magazine Regards croisés sur l’économie

Les données personnelles et institutionnelles récoltées de plus en plus massivement à l’échelle mondiale ouvrent la voie à de nouvelles façons de penser la prise de décision collective. Cet article présente les conditions d’un traitement de ces données tourné vers le développement humain, au travers du concept d’Intelligence Artificielle Humaine (IAH). Nous présentons à cet égard un exemple de projet destiné à appliquer ce concept dans plusieurs pays en développement.

December 2018

Emmanuel Letouzé and Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland, published by ITU Journal

This paper discusses the possibility of applying the key principles and tools of current artificial intelligence (AI) to design future human systems in ways that could make them more efficient, fair, responsive, and inclusive. 

December 2018

Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Sébastien Gambs , Vincent Blondel, Geoffrey Canright, Nicolas de Cordes, Sébastien Deletaille, Kenth Engø-Monsen, Manuel Garcia-Herranz, Jake Kendall, Cameron Kerry, Gautier Krings, Emmanuel Letouzé, Miguel Luengo-Oroz, Nuria Oliver, Luc Rocher, Alex Rutherford, Zbigniew Smoreda, Jessica Steele, Erik Wetter, Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland & Linus Bengtsson 

The breadcrumbs we leave behind when using our mobile phones—who somebody calls, for how long, and from where—contain unprecedented insights about us and our societies. Researchers have compared the recent availability of large-scale behavioral datasets, such as the ones generated by mobile phones, to the invention of the microscope, giving rise to the new field of computational social science.

"Mobiliser et humaniser la Révolution des Données pour la statistique publique, le développement et la démocratie "

November 2018

Emmanuel Letouzé
Note au Bureau Pays du PNUD Togo

“Data for Refugees: The D4R Challenge on Mobility of Syrian Refugees in Turkey”

July 2018

Albert Ali Salah, Alex “Sandy” PentlandBruno LepriEmmanuel LetouzéPatrick VinckYves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Xiaowen Dong, Ozge Dagdelen

The Data for Refugees (D4R) Challenge is a non-profit challenge initiated to improve the conditions of the Syrian refugees in Turkey by providing a special database to scientific community for enabling research on urgent problems concerning refugees, including health, education, unemployment, safety, and social integration. The collected database is based on anonymised mobile Call Detail Record (CDR) of phone calls and SMS messages from one million Turk Telekom customers. It indicates broad activity and mobility patterns of refugees and citizens in Turkey for one year. The project is initiated by Turk Telekom, in partnership with the Turkish Academic and Research Council (TUBITAK) and Bogazici University, and in collaboration with several academic and non-governmental organizations, including UNHCR Turkey, UNICEF, and International Organization for Migration.

"Panorama setorial da Internet. Big Data e desenvolvimento: uma visão geral" *

Maio 2018

Apesar do entusiasmo existente em torno do “Big Data para o desenvolvimento” – ex- pressão que abrange o campo de pesquisa e prática sobre as aplicações e implicações do Big Data para a elaboração de políticas e para o desenvolvimento – o seu uso ainda é muito incipiente em termos intelectual e operacional. Seria ele o “novo petróleo” que poderá se tornar uma bênção ou uma maldição para o desenvolvimento humano e o progresso social? Os otimistas o consideram uma revolução que mudará “a forma como vivemos, pensamos e trabalhamos”. Entretanto, os céticos e os críticos têm sido mais circunspectos, ou claramente antagônicos, referindo-se ao Big Data como um grande truque, um grande exagero ou um grande risco. Então, o que há de novo?

“How to use Big Data? Leading experts’ roadmap to data-driven innovation projects”

November 2017

Emmanuel Letouzé, Director and Co-Founder, Data-Pop Alliance David Sangokoya, Research Manager, Data-Pop Alliance In Cooperation with the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications

This position paper highlights overall takeaways and recommendations in the areas of privacy protection, responsible data governance, transparency and accountability for unleashing big data-driven innovation, including: (1) putting ‘privacy by design’ into action: privacy-preserving technical procedures and standards for data sharing and use; (2) focusing on responsibility in data use: establishing internal responsible data governance standards and (3) Keeping transparency, trust and user control at the centre: engaging all data stakeholders.

“Understanding Patterns of Human Mobility At Different Timescales”

September 2017

Lee Fiorio, Emilio Zagheni, Guy Abel, Johnathan Hill, Gabriel Pestre, Emmanuel Letouzé, Jixuan Cai

The main objective of this paper is to discuss whether and how the future of algorithms can be crafted such that their development and deployment—from their design to their use, including control, evaluation, auditing, governance—be based on and foster core democratic values such as accountability, transparency, participation, and collaboration. In doing so, we will focus on algorithms affecting public life and policies to maximize benefit for citizens, or ‘public good algorithms’, but the discussion aims to have broader applicability.

“Algorithmic accountability – Applying the concept to different country contexts”

July 2017

This paper has been adapted by the Web Foundation from a draft report commissioned to David Sangokoya of Data-Pop Alliance.

Drawing from interviews with global experts, topic workshops and content research, this scoping paper aims to provide the reader with an understanding of algorithmic decision-making processes and the challenges they pose to our existing understanding of accountability across different contexts. It offers a map of existing technical and governance mechanisms for both identifying and addressing algorithmic harms and bias, as well as a set of recommendations and entry points for the Web Foundation and other stakeholders to contribute to this emerging field most effectively.

“Understanding the Relationship Between Short and Long Term Mobility”

June 2017

Sveta Milusheva, Elisabeth zu Erbach-Schoenberg, Linus Bengtsson, Erik Wetter, Andy Tatem

Populations are highly mobile, both in terms of long term movements of individuals relocating their place of residence as well as shorter term mobility such as commuting, seasonal travel and recreational trips. Working with call detail record data from Namibia and Senegal, we study population migration and its link to short term movement. We compare the short term mobility estimates extracted from call detail records to census data in the two countries and find a strong annual relationship, as well as distinct daily patterns in the relationship between long and short term movement. 

"Characterizing and analyzing urban dynamics in Bogota"

June 2017

Marco De Nadai, Emmanuel Letouzé, Marta C. González & Bruno Lepri

Using open data and mobile phone records, we explore this link with a spatial regression model that analyzes the environmental and the social conditions to which each part of the city is exposed. We found that physical characteristics of the city connected to higher urban diversity better explain the emergence of crime than traditional socio-economic conditions and, together, physical characteristics and socioeconomic conditions improve the performance of previous approaches. This result suggests that urban diversity and natural surveillance theories play an important role in the proliferation of crime, and the knowledge of this role can be exploited in urban planning to reduce crime.

“Big Data – Predicting and preventing climate-related shocks”

March 2017

Big Data as a socio-technological phenomenon has the potential to generate new insights on the functioning and interaction of human and natural ecosystems. In particular, Big Data can improve our understanding of how societies deal with shocks related to climate change, and inform policies and actions to foster adaptive mechanisms. However, such positive effects will not occur automatically and investments to address the technological, human, and ethical barriers of Big Data will be necessary. This article analyzes these factors and makes a series of recommendations on the potential for leveraging Big Data for climate change resilience in LAC, impediments in doing so, and requirements if this is to be effective.

February 2017


The combination of increased availability of large amounts of fine-grained human behavioral data and advances in machine learning is presiding over a growing reliance on algorithms to address complex societal problems. Algorithmic decision-making processes might lead to more objective and thus potentially fairer decisions than those made by humans who may be influenced by greed, prejudice, fatigue, or hunger. However, algorithmic decision-making has been criticized for its potential to enhance discrimination, information and power asymmetry, and opacity. In this paper, we provide an overview of available technical solutions to enhance fairness, accountability, and transparency in algorithmic decision-making.

"Socio-Physical Vulnerability to Flooding in Senegal"

February 2017

Bessie SchwarzElizabeth Tellman, Jonathan Sullivan, Catherine Kuhn, Richa Mahtta, Bhartendu Pandey, Laura Hammett, Gabriel Pestre

Each year thousands of people and millions of dollars in assets are affected by flooding in Senegal; over the next decade, the frequency of such extreme events is expected to increase.  However, no publicly available digital flood maps, except for a few aerial photos or post – disaster assessments from UNOSAT, could be found for the country. This report tested an experimental method for assessing the socio – physical vulnerability y of Senegal using high capacity remote sensing, machine learning, new social science, and community engagement.

“Mining Case Law to Improve Countries’ Accountability To Universal Periodic Review”

February 2017

Soline Aubry, Hansdeep Singh, Ivan Vlahinic, Abhimanyu Ramachandran, Sara Fischer, Robert O’Callaghan, Natalie Shoup, Jaspreet Singh, David SangokoyaGabriel Pestre, and Carson Martinez.

The United Nations (UN) Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a process established by the Human Rights Council aiming to monitor and improve the human rights situation in each UN member state. In this study, we hypothesize that leveraging text mining and machine-learning algorithms is a viable strategy for monitoring gender discrimination in sentencing practices of Fiji’s judiciary system, which has been the object of recommendations from Norway and Belgium in the UPR cycles of 2010 and 2015, respectively.

“Leveraging Algorithms for Positive Disruption: On data, democracy, society and statistics”

December 2016

The main objective of this paper is to discuss whether and how the future of algorithms can be crafted such that their development and deployment—from their design to their use, including control, evaluation, auditing, governance—be based on and foster core democratic values such as accountability, transparency, participation, and collaboration. In doing so, we will focus on algorithms affecting public life and policies to maximize benefit for citizens, or ‘public good algorithms’, but the discussion aims to have broader applicability.

"The Tyranny of Data? The Bright and Dark Sides of Data-Driven Decision-Making for Social Good"

December 2016

 Bruno Lepri, Jacopo Staiano, David Sangokoya, Emmanuel Letouzé & Nuria Oliver

We focus our attention on social good decision-making algorithms, that is algorithms strongly influencing decision-making and resource optimization of public goods, such as public health, safety, access to finance and fair employment. Through an analysis of specific use cases and approaches, we highlight both the positive opportunities and the potential negative consequences that practitioners should be aware of and address in order to truly realize the potential of this emergent field. We elaborate on the need for these algorithms to provide transparency and accountability, preserve privacy and be tested and evaluated in context. Finally, we turn to the requirements which would make it possible to leverage the predictive power of data-driven human behavior analysis.

“Oportunidades y requerimientos para aprovechar el uso de Big Data para las estadísticas oficiales y los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible en América Latina”

Mayo 2016

Este documento se realizó en el marco de un proyecto apoyado por el Banco Mundial e implementado por Data-Pop Alliance en asociación con el Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística de Colombia – DANE. Data-Pop Alliance es una coalición sobre Big Data y el desarrollo creada conjuntamente por la Iniciativa Humanitaria de Harvard, el MIT Media Lab y el Instituto de Desarrollo de Ultramar (ODI por sus siglas en inglés) para promover una revolución de Big Data centrada en las personas.

Book chapter – "The Evaluation of Complex Development Interventions in the Age of Big Data"


Emmanuel Letouzé, Ana Areias & Sally Jackson in  Dealing With Complexity in Development Evaluation: A Practical Approach

Recognizing that complexity calls for innovative, conceptual, and methodological solutions, this unique book offers practical guidance to policymakers, managers, and evaluation practitioners on how to design and implement complexity-responsive evaluations that can be undertaken in the real world of time, budget, data, and political constraints. Introductory chapters present comprehensive, non-technical overviews of the most common evaluation tools and methodologies, and additional content addresses more cutting-edge material. The book also includes six case study chapters to illustrate examples of various evaluation contexts from around the world.

"Applications and Implications of Big Data for Demo-Economic Analysis:The Case of Call-Detail Records"


This dissertation analyzes and discusses various applications and implications of BigData for demo-economic analysis, focusing on the analysis of cell-phone data collected by telecommunication operators for billing purposes, commonly referred to as call-detail records, or CDRs, which include the time and duration of calls, the location of the emitter and receiver, etc. This is done by placing the resulting opportunities and challenges within the broader context of the ‘Data Revolution’.

“Big Data and Climate Change Resilience”

November 2015

Patrick Vinck with contributions from several members of CIESIN and Research Affiliates Simone SalaBessie Schwarz, and Elizabeth Tellman

This paper (in progress) outlines the Data–Pop Alliance’s ongoing research on Big Data, climate change and environmental resilience. The paper dives deeply into the conceptualization of climate change resilience, both specific and general; addresses Big Data contributions to understanding the components of climate risk; and identifies gaps and challenges to Big Data applications to climate resilience decision-making. Finally, authors offer suggestions for individual and community engagement in building resilience.

Event Paper – "Big Data and Privacy: Understanding the Possibilities and Pitfalls of the Data Revolution in Germany"

November 2015

As the first event paper in the digitising Europe’s series, this event paper captures the major key themes emerging from our events in Berlin in November 2015.
The Berlin workshop and public forum focused on the possibilities and pitfalls
of using Big Data analytics for economic growth and public good. Bringing together German academic institutions, think tanks, businesses and other thought-leaders, the expert workshop focused on the ongoing political discourse in Berlin surrounding the elements framing the GDPR and EU legislation on data protection.

“Correcting for Sample Bias with Application to the Case of Senegal”

November 2015

This paper sets out to explain modeling and correcting sample bias in Call Detail Records (CDRs). A proper understanding of sample bias is key to producing useful estimates derived from CDRs: such calculations rely heavily on a good understanding of how the sample (cell-phone users) relates to the larger populations it is drawn from. It could have major applications in crisis monitoring and response, as in the case of flood vulnerability predictions. Data-Pop Alliance uses both statistical and machine learning approaches, relying on data from Orange’s D4D challenges, official censuses and Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) program data.

“Beyond Data Literacy: Reinventing Community Engagement and Empowerment in the Age of Data”

September 2015

This paper attempts to delineate the broad contours of “data literacy” through analysis of its history, definition, expectations, application, and promotion. The paper thus defines “data literacy” as “the desire and ability to constructively engage in society through and about data” and argues that promotion of “data literacy” should be via and for social inclusion.

“Big Data for Climate Change and Disaster Resilience: Realising the Benefits for Developing Countries”

September 2015

This paper valuates the opportunities, challenges and required steps for leveraging the new ecosystem of Big Data to monitor and detect hazards, mitigate their effects, and assist in relief efforts as poor communities become more vulnerable to natural hazards. There have been increasing calls to make disaster risk reduction a core development concern and to build resilience so that vulnerable communities and countries as complex human ecosystems not only ‘bounce back’ but also learn to adapt to maintain equilibrium in the face of natural hazards.

“Moves on the Street: Classifying Crime Hotspots Using Aggregated Anonymized Data on People Dynamics”

September 2015

This paper highlights the potential societal benefits derived from big data applications with a focus on citizen safety and crime prevention. Authors detail a case study tackling the problem of crime hotspot classification, that is, the classification of which areas in a city are more likely to witness crimes based on past data. In the proposed approach demographic information is used along with human mobility characteristics as derived from anonymized and aggregated mobile network data.

“Group Privacy in the Age of Big Data”

September 2015

Lanah Kammourieh, Thomas Baar, Jos BerensEmmanuel LetouzéJulia Manske, John Palmer and Patrick Vinck with contributions from Augustin Chaintreau, Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, and Natalie Shoup

This paper attempts to define what is a group and what is privacy in order to determine how a privacy right might attach to groups distinctly from the individual privacy rights of its members, and what might be the content of such a group privacy right. The challenge faced by group privacy is to enable the positive uses of Big Data while restricting the oppressive uses to the extent possible. This cannot be done by legislation or stakeholders alone; it also requires improving awareness and data literacy, and harnessing technology itself to improve data security and accountability for breaches.

“Big Data and Development: An Overview”

May 2015

Emmanuel Letouzé, in collaboration with and the World Bank Group

This paper describes the fundamental nature of Big Data as an ecosystem and how it engages with society. Although Big Data has promising applications to real-world problems, it is met with warnings and risks–the most severe being risk to individual privacy, identity and security. In response to these challenges and risks, the paper explores the future of Big Data and how it will be shaped by academic research, legal and technical frameworks for ethical use of data, and larger societal demands for greater accountability and participation.

“The Law, Politics and Ethics of Cell Phone Data Analytics”

April 2015

This paper examines Call Detail Records (CDRs) and their expanding role in providing insight into human behavior, movements, and social interactions. As a result of their growing application, certain ethical and legal questions need to be addressed. The paper summarizes current legal frameworks, explores structural socio-political parameters and incentives structuring the sharing of CDRs, proposes guiding ethical principles and discusses operational options and requirements.

“Quantifying the Data Deluge and the Data Drought”

April 2015

This paper investigates how the world’s Big Data capacity can be understood in terms of the world’s storage capacity and the telecommunication capacity to access this storage (‘the cloud’). This paper follows the methodology of what has become the standard reference in estimating the world’s technological information capacity: Hilbert and López (2011).

“Official Statistics, Big Data, and Human Development”

March 2015

Johannes Jütting and Emmanuel Letouzé, in collaboration with PARIS21

This paper aims to contribute to the ongoing and future debate about the relationships between Big Data, official statistics and development. This paper argues that Big Data needs to be seen as an entirely new ecosystem comprising new data, new tools and methods, and new actors motivated by their own incentives. The emergence of this new ecosystem provides both a historical opportunity, and a political and democratic obligation for official statistical systems to recall, retain or regain their primary role as the legitimate custodian of knowledge and creator of a deliberative public space for and about societies.

Big Data & SDGs note for Global Sustainable Development Report

February 2015

This paper focuses on the intersection of Big Data and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the spectrum of ways and channels through which Big Data as an entirely new ecosystem could impact—contribute to or hamper—human progress as called for and measured by the SDGs. Applications of Big Data to SDGs have the potential to advocate for causes, shape incentives and inform policies This paper argues that BIg Data contributions to the SDGs should expand beyond monitoring–Big Data must contribute directly to SDGs, which will require a data-educated citizenry.

AFD Paper - "CDRs & Poverty and Population Analysis – Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal"

In progress

Emmanuel Letouzé and Gabriel Pestre with support from Cyrille Bellier , Thomas Roca,
Nicolas de Cordes and Orange for facilitating access to the CDRs

This paper considers Big Data’s potential to partly fill some key data gaps and complement or even replace official statistics. Data-Pop Alliance offers the specific case of Côte d’Ivoire, using Call Records (CDRs) from Orange in conjunction with two other datasets, the WorldPop dataset, which provides population data derived from satellite imagery, and the recently released 2013 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS). The paper intends to predict multidimensional poverty at the sous-prefecture and sub-national levels; and to predict the population of the 11 sub-national regions of Côte d’Ivoire and its 255 sous-prefectures (sub-districts).

“Big Data and Mobility: Migration and Transportation”

In progress

This paper (in progress) discusses the linkages between Big Data and mobility—specifically migration and transportation. Its main objective is to give its readers—World Bank staff, policymakers, researchers, development project managers and other professionals—an overview of the main features and parameters of this nexus, as well as provide examples and discuss key considerations—technical, ethical, institutional, etc.—for developing projects, programs and other activities in the field.