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Humanitarian data breaches: the real scandal is our collective inaction

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Why it’s time for an independent investigatory body

Nathaniel A. Raymond
Daniel P. Scarnecchia
Stuart R. Campo
Author Note: The authors research standards and ethics related to the humanitarian use of data and information at the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

CAMBRIDGE, 8 December 2017
The news that a platform used by at least 11 major operational NGOs and UN agencies may be relatively easy to breach, potentially exposing the personal, location, and demographic data of tens of thousands of highly vulnerable people, is deeply disturbing but not surprising. The real scandal here is not that these vulnerabilities reportedly exist, but that there is still no intentional, comprehensive agenda or political will to decisively address the root causes of this incident and limit the possible fallout.

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