Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Small experiments beat big ones, and other takeaways from BizLab’s public radio innovation summit
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Feb. 26, 2013, 2:47 p.m.

A new set of guidelines aimed at helping disaster relief workers better use SMS in crisis scenarios was unveiled Monday at the Mobile World Congress. “Towards a Code of Conduct: Guidelines for the use of SMS in Natural Disasters” focuses on the role that mobile providers play in these scenarios and the importance of collaboration. From TechPresident’s Julia Wetherell:

“The humanitarian principle of ‘do no harm’ comes first,” states one of the five general guidelines outlined in the document. Evaluating what constitutes harm, in the case of mobile-deployed crisis response, is the heart of the matter. The volunteer team behind 4636 [a Ushahidi platform used in the 2010 earthquake in Haiti] faced this in the issue of obtaining consent to broadcast the emergency tweets, and hand them over to translators in the diaspora. Because the project was deemed to be in victims’ best interest, consent was ultimately implied.

Patrick Meier of the Qatar Foundation’s Computing Research Institute calls the code a “living document” and writes that, since there is often no way to handle the volume of an SMS blast in a crisis scenario, he is working on a way to “automatically parse and triage large volumes of text messages posted during disasters.” The GSMA’s code asks designers to focus on centralized control and a simple, user-oriented design and offers advice on how to acquire — and how long to retain — private user data.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Small experiments beat big ones, and other takeaways from BizLab’s public radio innovation summit
“Because we’ve been in a relatively protected space, I think one of the challenges is that there’s not always the urgency to change.”
Hundreds of Tribune employees are protesting Alden Global Capital’s sudden interest in their newspapers
“We are animated by a serious concern for the future of journalism as a public good and a valuable commodity.”
Bloomberg Media is buying CityLab from The Atlantic (and some of its fans are nervous)
“These folks at CityLab have built a terrific site and terrific audience, not only committed to understanding what’s coming but covering the intersection of innovation.”