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Internet Governance 28 September 2011

SOP 212: Privacy and Sercurity in an Open/Realtime/Linked Data World

On the second day at IGF 2011 in Nairobi, the workshop on privacy and security in an open/realtime/linked data world recognized alot of recent developments in making data available and accessible in many countries around the world. It was mentioned that Kenya is taking the lead among the sub-saharan countries in having public data available on the internet in realtime through the recent open data initiative championed by the government of Kenya (http://www.opendata.go.ke).

Social open data initiaves has also been emphasised as a way of changing the way emergency and rescue operations can be conducted if systems are made available that collect and collate lots of information from users in different parts of the society. The concept of ushahidi project in Kenya (http://www.ushahidi.com) has previously been used to allow faster response in calamity situations, starting with the search and rescure perations during the post election violence in kenya in 2008, rescure during the 2011 divastating Earthquake in Japan, the flooding situation in Haiti). These success stories show that open data can be used to save lives in societies and as well challenge the society into responsible use of information for the benefit of the community at large. For if this technology can be implmented to improve on the qualityof life, then guinuine reasons exist for the players in the  ICT subsector, governmnets,  regulatory agenecies and all the stakeholders to come together and nature the availability of open data and social media to develop and thrive for the benefit of the society at large.

But with all these positive outcomes of the open/realtime/linked data world, challanges for open data systems still exits. There are still criminals out there who will always look for opportunities to attack open data and the information it contains. There are also governments out there who may still shut down social networks and open data informations for political reasons. These challenges need multistakeholder forums to discuss and innovate methods, processes and policies that will allow the privacy and security of open data to be guranteed for the benefit of the society at large.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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