Contact: Peter Pochna, Rubenstein Associates, 212-843-8007, email@example.com
FORDHAM LAW AND THE WOODROW WILSON CENTER RELEASE REPORT ON PRIVACY ISSUES RAISED BY MISSING PERSONS DATABASES
NEW YORK, NY AND WASHINGTON, DC (April XX, 2013) – The Fordham Center on Law and Information Policy (CLIP) at Fordham Law School and the Commons Lab of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars today issued a report titled “Privacy and Missing Persons after Natural Disasters,” prepared as part of a joint project. The report is available for free download at:
“With this project, Fordham CLIP is trying to help the people and organizations assisting in the location of missing persons recognize and deal with critical privacy issues by providing a range of options to address the legal and policy concerns,” said Joel R. Reidenberg, the academic director of Fordham CLIP and a co-author of the report. Robert Gellman, a privacy expert and co-author of the report, added, “Missing persons services are essential following natural disasters, but they can raise questions about how privacy laws apply to emergency humanitarian responses. The report suggests ways to resolve those questions.”
The project is part of an international effort led by the Missing Persons Community of Interest (MPCI) that is seeking to harmonize a wide array of databases and technologies to enhance searches for missing persons following natural disasters. MPCI, which emerged in response to the 2010 Haitian earthquake, includes participants from local disaster management, international humanitarian relief organizations, private sector technology companies, non-profits, and digital volunteer communities.
Tim Schwartz, the chair of MPCI, said the report “gives us for the first time a thorough analysis of how missing persons technologies impact individual privacy and provides us with a valuable framework that will help us refine these critical and complex systems.” Lea Shanley, director of the Commons Lab at the Wilson Center, added, “Response organizations and volunteer groups must work to find an appropriate balance between protecting privacy and safety, and facilitating critical information sharing about affected populations and missing persons during and after disasters. This research will inform the development of privacy guidelines and best practices.”
The report examined privacy issues created by missing persons activities following several recent natural disasters, such as the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand in February 2011 and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in August 2005. The report identified New Zealand as a leader in addressing the privacy issues that follow natural disasters and in prompting the world’s data protection authorities to pay more attention to those issues. The report discusses the New Zealand response and shows what other data protection authorities can do to provide clarity in applying privacy rules to missing persons activities.
Joining Reidenberg on the team that created the report are Gellman, a privacy and information policy consultant who previously served as chief counsel to the U.S. House of Representative Government Operations Committee and served as a member of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics at the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, Jamela Debelak, CLIP’s executive director, and CLIP student researchers Adam Elewa and Nancy Liu.
The project was supported by the Wilson Center and a gift made by Fordham University alumnus and trustee Ed Stroz and his digital risk management company, Stroz Friedberg.
The Commons Lab of the Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program seeks to advance research and independent policy analysis on emerging technologies that facilitate collaborative, science-based and citizen-driven decision-making, with an emphasis on their social, legal, and ethical implications. The initiative does not advocate for or against specific technological platforms, rather works to ensure that these technologies are developed and used in a way that maximizes benefits while reducing risks and unintended consequences. Our work often focuses on novel governance options at the “edges” where the crowd and social media operate—between formal organizations and emergent networks, and between proprietary and open models of data ownership and access.
The Fordham Center on Law and Information Policy (CLIP) was founded to make significant contributions to the development of law and policy for the information economy and to teach the next generation of leaders. CLIP brings together scholars, the bar, the business community, technology experts, the policy community, students, and the public to address and assess policies and solutions for cutting-edge issues that affect the evolution of the information economy.
Responding to Liability: Evaluating and Reducing Tort Liability for Digital Volunteers
By Edward Robson, Esq.
Major emergencies and crises can overwhelm local resources. In the last several years, self-organized digital volunteers have begun leveraging the power of social media and “crowd-mapping” for collaborative crisis response. Rather than mobilizing a physical response, these digital volunteer groups have responded virtually by creating software applications, monitoring social networks, aggregating data, and creating “crowdsourced” maps to assist both survivors and the formal response community. These virtual responses can subject digital volunteers to tort liability. This report evaluates the precise contours of potential liability for digital volunteers. Published by the Commons Lab of the Science and Technology Innovation Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, September 2012.
To download a PDF of the free report, visit the Commons Lab Scribd webpage here.
To read a follow up blog post by the author, visit the Commons Lab Blog “Calling for Backup – Indemnification for Digital Volunteers (November 7, 2012)”
To watch a video of the author discussing liability for digital volunteers, visit the Commons Lab YouTube webpage here.
- Opportunities and Challenges in Crisis Informatics (slideshare.net)
Washington, D.C. — By harnessing the collective power of citizens and engaging communities in their own response and recovery, social media have the power to revolutionize emergency management. Yet, many challenges—including guidelines for use by response agencies, demonstration of value, and characterization of reliability—must be addressed if the potential of social media is to be fully realized in emergency response and relief efforts in the United States.
Please join us on November 10th for this panel and roundtable discussion, which will be chaired by Dr. Clarence Wardell of CNA and will feature findings from the report, 2011 Social Media + Emergency Management Camp: Transforming the Response Enterprise. Panelists from FEMA, the Red Cross, emergency management, and the digital volunteer community will discuss the report and offer policy and research recommendations for moving forward with the adoption, integration, and practice of social media in emergency management.
TIME: November 10th from 8:30 – 10:00 AM EST
LOCATIION: 5th floor board room, Woodrow Wilson Center, Reagan Building, Washington, D.C. (Federal Triangle Metro).
Follow the event on Twitter with the #SMEM11 hashtag.
For information about the event and to watch it live, visit Social Media in Emergency Management: Transforming the Response Enterprise | Wilson Center.
- LIVE WEBCAST: Improving Emergency Communications Through Private Sector Innovation (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
- Social Media for Disaster Management: Interview with Captain Yo Gikas (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
University Of Maryland Professor Helps Digitize Disaster Relief
by Sabri Ben-Achour, WAMU 88.5
April 21, 2011 – The earthquake in Japan wrought massive destruction in that country, and part of the humanitarian need there — and in any disaster — is the need for information. Now, a group of volunteers from around the globe, including one local professor, are working to make sure that in the future responders and refugees might help and be helped as fast as possible. At his desk at the University of Maryland, Professor Hiroyuki Iseki has a Google map of post-earthquake Japan up on his screen. … Iseki says there were able to locate public phones, charging stations, food supplies, water distribution centers and locations accepting evacuees. He says the data comes from people driving in the field, who then use smart phones to upload information to the Internet. …
It’s an experiment — an attempt to show what emergency response might look like in the future. Heather Blanchard is co-founder of Crisis Commons, a group she calls a “volunteer technology community.” Her group commissioned the map Iseki worked on. …
For full text of the article, visit University Of Maryland Professor Helps Digitize Disaster Relief – News – WAMU 88.5 FM – American University Radio.
For more information about Crisis Commons, visit: http://crisiscommons.org/
- Mapping, Geolocation and the Future of Scalable Disaster Response (readwriteweb.com)
Dr. Lea Shanley is the founder and former co-Chair of the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, a vibrant community of 200 federal employees from more than 35 agencies. She is also a co-founding member of the Citizen Science Association. Dr. Shanley recently served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow at NASA, where she helped to foster a culture of open innovation. Prior to this, she founded and directed the Commons Lab at the Wilson Center, served in the US Senate as a Congressional Science Fellow, and worked with local and tribal communities to develop GIS-based decision support systems for city planning, natural resource management, coastal management, and disaster response through the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog of links to relevant news, events, and reports, provided for educational purposes only. The opinions and views contained therein are those only of the authors of the original articles. These opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the editor of this blog or or associated organizations.
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