Phil 1.24.16

7:00 – 9:00(am)

  • Boy, that was a lot of snow…
  • Finished Security-Controlled Methods for Statistical Databases. Lots of good stuff, but the main takeaway is that data from each user could be adjusted by a fixed value so that its means and variances would be indistinguishable from some other user. We’d have to save those offsets for differentiation, but those are small values that can be encrypted and even stored offline.
  • Starting Crowdseeding Conflict Data.
    • Just found out about FrontlineSMS and SimLab
    • ACLED (Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project)
    • We close with reflections on the ethical implications of taking a project like this to scale. During the pilot project we faced no incidents that threatened the safety of the phone holders. However, this might be dierent when the project is scaled up and the attention of armed groups is drawn to it. For both humanitarian and research purposes a project such as Voix des Kivus becomes truly useful only when it is taken to scale; but those are precisely the conditions which might create the greatest risks. We did not assess these risks because we could not bear them ourselves. But given the importance and utility of the data these are risks that others might be better placed to bear.
    • Internal validation seems to help a lot. This really does beg the question as to what the interface should look like to enforce conformity without leading to information overload.
    • So restrict the user choice (like the codes used here), or have the system infer categories? A mix? Maybe like the search autocomplete?
    • Remember, this needs to work for mobile, even SMS. I’m thinking that maybe a system that has a simple question/answer interaction that leads down a tree might be general enough. As the system gets more sophisticated, the text could get more conversational.
    • This could be tested on Twitter as a bot. It would need to keep track of the source’s id to maintain the conversation, and could ask for posts of images, videos, etc.

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