“Technology companies like Meta, Twitter and Amazon are laying off thousands of employees as part of corporate restructuring in an uncertain global economy. In addition to jobs, many internal programs deemed unnecessary or financially infeasible may be lost. Programs that fall under the rubric of “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) are generally the first casualties of restructuring. CSR efforts include “data for good” programs designed to translate anonymized corporate data into social good and may be seen in the current climate as a way that companies cater to employee values or enable friendlier regulatory environments; in other words, nice-to-haves rather than need-to-haves for the bottom line.
We believe the platforms built to safely and ethically share corporate data to support public policy are not a luxury that companies should jettison or monetize. The data we produce in our daily lives has become integral to how public decisions are made while planning for public health or disaster response. Our 21st century public data ecosystem is increasingly reliant on novel private data streams that corporations own and currently share only conditionally and increasingly, for profit….
We contend that the rapid sharing of aggregated and anonymized location data with disaster response and public health agencies should be automatic and free — though conditional on strict privacy protocols and time-limited — during acute emergencies….
While the challenges to realizing the full value of private data for public good are many, there is precedent for a path forward. Two decades ago, the International Space Charter was negotiated to facilitate access to satellite data from companies and governments for the sake of responding to major disasters. A similar approach guaranteeing access rights to privately held data for good during emergencies is more important now….”