The following is an excerpt from a guest article which appeared on openDemocracy, written by Privacy International's Head of Advocacy, Carly Nyst:
Forget blood diamonds. There's a new resource being mined and exploited in the developing world: data.
As development actors adopt new technologies at a rapid rate, data is fast becoming the development community's favourite cure-all. For its proponents, data has the potential to accelerate economic growth, catalyse innovation, and revolutionise the provision of development and humanitarian aid.
Yet, much like other conflict resources, the data for development movement poses serious risks to the liberties of the same individuals who will purportedly benefit from its exploitation. By facilitating the generation, collection or analysis of information that is about individuals, 'data for development' may be enabling surveillance in the most insidious way.