Today’s unprecedented growth of data and their ubiquity in our lives are signs that the data revolution is transforming the world. And yet much of the value of data remains untapped. Data collected for one purpose have the potential to generate economic and social value in applications far beyond those originally anticipated. But many barriers stand in the way, ranging from misaligned incentives and incompatible data systems to a fundamental lack of trust.
This report explores the tremendous potential of the changing data landscape to improve the lives of poor people, while also acknowledging its potential to open back doors that can harm individuals, businesses and societies. To address this tension between the helpful and harmful potential of data, this report calls for a new social contract that enables the use and reuse of data to create economic and social value, ensures equitable access to that value, and fosters trust that data will not be misused in harmful ways.