White paper

Mindful Data Mining


Mindful data mining can deliver profound social good without eroding the privacy rights of individuals. The spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has changed the behavior of hundreds of millions of people unlike any event in generations. The lack of successful treatments or a vaccine has meant widespread lockdowns in an attempt to control what has quickly become a pandemic. While scientific research seeks medical solutions, governments, health authorities, and the private sector are seeking to deploy technology to track, predict, and contain the spread of the virus.

Data For Good

Analysts need to understand what uses of data will be lawful, transparent, and fair and need to be particularly mindful of potential endangerment of under-represented or otherwise vulnerable populations. There is an understandable and necessary rush to produce analyses to help government agencies, commercial companies, and most of all citizens with information as to the spread of a virus such as SARS-CoV-2.

Data provides information to track the progress of the virus and demonstrates how containment measures are affecting the spread of the virus. At the same time, those working with data must be aware of the potential risks of working on such urgent and important tasks. Inaccurate data may cause unnecessary stress or panic and place a further strain on public resources. It may also give a false sense of comfort and result in people relaxing their responses to the virus, leading to more rapid spread.

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