The Digital Responder

Blogs posted at

The Six Principles of Good Crisis Technology Design

Design is not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works. Steve Jobs I was recently having coffee with a friend in the crisis technology community (hi, Willow!), and we were bemoaning the lack of design in many crisis technology circles. Whether supporting public safety (emergency management, police, fire, EMS []

Posted February 20, 2018 by rbharani

The GDPR is a unique opportunity to get humanitarian data protection right.

If you work in data protection or privacy, you already know this: the clock is ticking. On 25 May 2018, the most significant data protection law in this young century will go into effect in the European Union: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Regulation 2016/679. Europe has long regarded privacy as a fundamental []

Posted December 30, 2017 by rbharani

Valuing Privacy in Humanitarian Response

Humanitarian aid workers are increasingly challenged in their use of data collection in order to accomplish their development and crisis response objectives. The unending growth of mobile devices, the ubiquity of connectivity in even the most remote corners of the world, and the trend towards digitization means that aid agencies are dealing with an []

Posted November 21, 2017 by rbharani

On Emergencies, Wifi, Gender and Social Dynamics

Its no longer a luxury. This is serious. Its really a social justice issue. Its a 21st century civil rights issue. Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner on the Digital Divide Once upon a time, there was no connectivity in disasters and humanitarian emergencies. The Internet was not really regarded as an essential service in the midst of []

Posted March 29, 2017 by rbharani

Basic Information Security for Digital Humanitarians

A key part of any modern disaster or crisis response is that of the volunteer technical community (VTC). VTCs have emerged in the last few years to enable the collection, analysis, fusion and dissemination of maps, imagery, social media and other products. These products are in turn used by responding humanitarian organizations and governments on []

Posted December 29, 2016 by rbharani

Humanitarian Information Security and the Obligation to Protect

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. Article 12, Universal Declaration of Human Rights Humanitarian organizations NGOs, governments and organs of the []

Posted December 22, 2016 by rbharani

The ETC 2020 vision requires smarter humanitarian networks.

The United Nations recently set out theETC 2020strategy, asking for a remarkable change in how humanitarian communications will happen in future disasters and other humanitarian crises. The ETC 2020 strategy does something which Ive previously advocated for, a focus on delivering communications not just to the humanitarian responder community, but directly to the population affected []

Posted February 28, 2016 by rbharani

Mini-Review: Microsoft Surface 3 + Windows 10 for Humanitarian Response

So Ive been testing the Microsoft Surface 3 for a few weeks now as a potential deployment laptop for NGOs and humanitarian responders who may find themselves headed into emergencies, ICT4D or other similar scenarios. The need for computing in remote areas is increasing, and being able to get a good solution in the field []

Posted August 1, 2015 by rbharani

The Case for Evidence-Based Disaster Technology Response

The plural of anecdote is not data. A disaster happens somewhere in the world. Disaster technologists and digital humanitarians mobilize. Maps are crowdsourced, satellite dishes and networks are deployed, UAVs are flown, apps are hacked in marathon sessions, social media mined. All these things happen incredibly rapidly because of the army of passionate individuals and []

Posted April 19, 2015 by rbharani

A Cybersecurity Wake Up Call for Emergency Managers

Since the 9/11 attacks, the United States government has been increasingly concerned about the implications of cybersecurity on a technologically dependent society. While cybersecurity has been a significant priority for policymakers and the national security organizations of the United States, the intersection of cybersecurity and traditional emergency management remains less well-known, with relatively few agencies []

Posted November 22, 2014 by rbharani