The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of developing analytical pipelines that leverage data streams generated by individuals and communities to drive data-driven responses to crises. As these data increasingly exchange hands within agencies and are shared publicly for broader research, Salil Vadhan from Harvard SEAS and Navin Vembar from Camber Systems discuss the inadequacy of traditional methods for the protection of sensitive personal data.
In the United States, the vast majority of shelters are operated by agencies like the American Red Cross, other not-for-profit organizations, or directly by the county government. During disasters, the sudden demand for services at these shelters contributes to challenges in resource allocation and complicates the logistics of keeping people safe during mass gatherings.
The near real-time information about human movement provided by aggregated population mobility data has tremendous potential to help refine interventions when appropriate legal, organizational, and computational safeguards are in place. As the private sector, policymakers, and academia work together to leverage novel sources of data to track the spread of the pandemic, Randall Harp, Laurent Hébert-Dufresne, and Juniper Lovato from the University of Vermont argue that anonymization at the individual level is insufficient– the notion of privacy should extend to communities as well.
The Brennan Center for Justice is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that conducts rigorous research to identify problems and provide in-depth empirical findings and compelling analyses of pressing legal and policy issues.
The MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis (MRC GIDA) at Imperial College London is an international resource and centre of excellence for research and capacity building on the epidemiological analysis and modelling of infectious diseases, and to undertake applied collaborative work with national and international agencies to support policy planning and response operations against infectious disease threats.
The COVID-19 Mobility Network (CMDN), a network of 150 infectious disease epidemiologists working with aggregated mobility data to support COVID-19 response, has been active since April 2020, meeting virtually 2-4 times per month to share best practices, analytic tools, and code repositories across the group.