Using social data to save lives
It’s a simple but ambitious pursuit: How to use existing data in ways that could save lives.
The idea was discussed this month at the Indigenous Controlled Technology Forum in Ottawa, which brought together Indigenous leaders, tech companies, police and the minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett.
Indigenous women and girls in Canada are disproportionately affected by all forms of violence. An Indigenous-led solution would, according to advocates, tackle this problem by analyzing existing social data to identify risk factors.
“This is Indigenous data, and it should be housed within an Indigenous facility,” said Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton for the Mohawk Council of Kahnawá:ke.
In fact, such data already does reside in Kahnawá:ke, just outside Montreal. It’s owned by Mohawk Internet Technologies, Norton said, and is currently being used by the online gaming industry to host the servers of many companies.
Several other companies have also pledged their support to the mission of collecting, analyzing and acting on social data in the community: Forrest Green, a credit-reporting agency; SAS Canada, an analytic software company; and Blackberry, which would provide secure communications.
“You can repurpose the tools you use for credit reporting, and you can use those tools for social services,” said Murray Rowe Jr., president of Forrest Green.
metro | Ottawa