[bestbits] UN Secretary General's report on the SDG process

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Wed Dec 10 08:00:23 EST 2014

The UN Secretary General has issued an important report on the SDGs 
process titled "/The Road to Dignity for All: Ending Poverty, 
and Protecting the Planet 
. It is now open for responses 

/IT for Change submitted these comments 
specifically on ICTs and data issues. Here, we highlight the need to 
especially recognise ICTs as a general purpose technology which is 
transforming our societies today and the need to ensure their universal 
availability as well as an open and equitable technical architecture of 
all ICTs, including the Internet. We also comment on some of the 
initiatives proposed by the Secretary General on data for sustainable 
development, and suggest some additional measures that will turn the 
face of the digital revolution towards serving the public good from the 
currently dominant trend of proprietisation of public data resources and 
use of data for mass surveillance and social control .

In this context, please do read the very significant report of an SG's 
advisory expert group on employing the data revolution for sustainable 
development, "/A World that Counts: Mobilizing the Data Revolution for 
Sustainable Development / 

I consider this report to be of outstanding significance. First time a 
global report deals with big data as a public resource, an issue 
entirely missed in the IG related civil society discussions and reports 
on data issues. All these discussions and reports have just seen big 
data from a privacy angle. However, the role of data as a resource, and 
its (mostly, mis-) appropriations as a private resource while the basic 
nature of much of it could actually be determined as 'public', is as 
important an issue. This report for the first time, at least at this 
level, frames the issue of big data as a public resource. It also calls 
for "building of a global consensus, applicable principles and standards 
for data".

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