Mapping people’s movements can be an invaluable first step in addressing a wide range of pressing societal challenges. A recent example has been the urgent need to track people’s movements out of Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing invasion, so emergency response agencies and aid groups can manage the logistics of allocating limited resources to the regions that need them most. Location signals from call records, mobile phone applications, and other such data can be aggregated for this purpose—painting a population-level map of human mobility. Unfortunately, access to novel mobility data is difficult for researchers and policymakers to obtain because it typically rests with private firms that face significant legal, financial, and practical challenges to sharing this data, and current EU proposals to foster the reuse of data for social good, such as those included in the Data Governance Act (DGA), exclude for-profit companies.
ITIF’s Center for Data Innovation held a panel discussion on how policymakers can maximize social good by encouraging the reuse of aggregated, anonymized, private-sector mobility data while protecting individual users’ privacy.
- Watch here or on datainnovation.org.