The limits of crisis data: analytical and ethical challenges of using social and mobile data to understand disasters

TitleThe limits of crisis data: analytical and ethical challenges of using social and mobile data to understand disasters
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsCrawford, K, Finn, M
JournalGeoJournal
Volume80
Issue4
Date PublishedJan-08-2015
ISSN Number0343-2521
AbstractIn this paper, we analyze some of the problems that emerge from the reliance on particular forms of crisis data, and we suggest ways forward through a deeper engagement with ethical frameworks and a more critical questioning of what crisis data actually represents. In particular, the use of Twitter data and crowdsourced text messages during crisis events such as Hurricane Sandy and the Haiti Earthquake raised questions about the ways in which crisis data act as a system of knowledge. We analyze these events from ontological, epistemological, and ethical perspectives and assess the challenges of data collection, analysis and deployment. While privacy concerns are often dismissed when data is scraped from public-facing platforms such as Twitter, we suggest that the kinds of personal information shared during a crisis—often as a way to find assistance and support—present ongoing risks. We argue for a deeper integration of critical data studies into crisis research, and for researchers to acknowledge their role in shaping norms of privacy and consent in data use.
URLhttp://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10708-014-9597-zhttp://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s10708-014-9597-z
DOI10.1007/s10708-014-9597-z

Discipline: 

Subject: 

Publication: