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Grantee Profile: Data Orchard

In early 2017, a small non-profit published a free online guide to help under-resourced organizations in the social sector make better use of their data. Sian Basker, one of the masterminds behind the guide, wasn’t sure if it would make a big impact. There was no need to worry. More…

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Open Data and Economic Ownership in West African Agriculture

Mobile technology is changing the way of life for millions of rural farmers across the West African country of Ghana. They receive texts with up-to-date crop prices, weather alerts, and advice about planting. Using electronic payment services, they now have credit histories to secure loans. With mobile technology, they can…

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Creating a New Global Standard for Privacy and Location Sharing

Rhode Island-based cartographer Jeffrey Yoo Warren understands the value of smartphone location-sharing—whether for detecting pollution from a nearby industrial site, connecting with singles, or monitoring a pandemic. But Warren sees the myriad issues around privacy the practice raises. Like many others, he’s concerned about the hundreds and even thousands of…

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Grantee Profile: Data Culture Project

To hear Rahul Bhargava tell it, too many people are afraid of data. “The first thing you feel is their trepidation,” says Bhargava, a research scientist at the MIT Center for Civic Media who speaks with organizations and workers about the power of digital information. The apprehension, he says, is…

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Housing Data Tool Aims to Strengthen Tenants Rights

As an advocate for New York City tenants living without heat in their apartments, Noelle Francois is especially reliant on data to help her battle unscrupulous landlords. After all, she points out, “you can’t just take a photo that shows you have no heat.” For tenant advocates like Francois, making…

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Grantee Profile: ImpactView

Two years ago, when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) made electronic tax returns filed by nonprofits available for the first time in a searchable format, many celebrated what they saw as a new age of transparency in philanthropy. For Neville Vakharia, a professor and graduate arts research director at Philadelphia’s…

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Grantee Profile: Good Data Collaborative

Like most businesses, the nonprofit sector loves data—or desperately wants to. But Laura Walker McDonald has a blunt message for leaders, donors, policymakers, researchers and service providers who see data as the elixir to doing good. Don’t, she says, collect data for data’s sake. Think through what kind of information…

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Democracy and the Digital Divide: Is Access Enough?

Name the Internet’s biggest risk to democracy and hate speech, privacy breaches, or government-sponsored hacking might come to mind. But there’s another threat posed by the web’s 30-year rise that receives scant attention: for most of the world’s population, getting online is too expensive, and for those who can afford…

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Algorithmic Risk Assessment in Pretrial Detention

When Hannah Sassaman heard that the City of Philadelphia was looking to use AI to help judges determine whether someone accused of a crime should be released before trial, she was instantly worried. “I knew that any data used to feed an algorithm of that nature would be extraordinarily ugly…

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