Data Donation for Public Good

How could donated data help our society? Data is a rich source of people’s habits – shopping data from loyalty cards, for example, can reflect our diet. If people donate their personal data for research, analysis of it can provide scope to improve everything from understandings of the dietary pre-cursors to diabetes to the impact of lifestyle on heart disease. But there are vital issues around the collection and use of personal data that must be addressed. This research project examines a number of these issues discussing the implications of these results in terms of data sharing practices.

James Goulding and Anya Skatova have published a Conversation article titled “Donate your data – how your digital footprint can be used for the public good”. With the advancement of digital technology, large amounts of our personal data is being recorded and retained by third parties, constituting an invaluable asset to both governmental and private organizations. Nonetheless, there is now increasing interest in whether such data might also generate public good, and this work indicates that 60% of respondents would be willing to donate their data for altruistic purposes. Read the article at the Conversation, or take a look at the underpinning research paper.

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