“Counting” is the condition of existence and care in the pandemic. Yet, many Souths are virtually absent from the narration of the COVID-19 emergency. This multilingual blog gives them voice, exploring narratives and consequences of the first pandemic of the datafied society.

Brought to you by the Big Data from the South Research Initiative, with the generous funding of the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, the School of Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University, and the European Research Council. Editors: Silvia Masiero, Stefania Milan and Emiliano Treré. To contribute visit this page (English) or this (Español).

[BigDataSur-COVID] A Brazilian cautionary tale on pandemic negationism: Open data is an essential safeguard for evidence-based policy-making

September 10, 2020

Header photo by Alan Santos/PR by Nicolo Zingales When it comes to COVID 19 deaths, Brazil is the second hardest hit country in the entire world (reaching almost 130.000 at the time of writing). This may be surprising to those who remember that, when the new Corona virus made its… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Tejidos comunitarios desde los márgenes: Las cajas de resistencia como herramienta autónoma y autoorganizada en tiempos de necesidad

August 26, 2020

Por Marta Espuny Contreras* Las respuestas colectivas como redes de apoyo mutuo y solidaridad y, en concreto, las cajas de resistencia (despensas solidarias, fondos de emergencia, etc.) se han multiplicado a raíz de la pandemia del COVID-19. Se trata de un tipo de activismo digital, unas prácticas de resistencia centradas… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Global Data Justice and COVID-19: Governing through technology during the pandemic

August 21, 2020

By Gargi Sharma with contributions from Aaron Martin Tilburg University The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through case studies from around the world, a new book from the Global Data Justice project analyzes the ways in which technologies… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Resilient Media in Times of Crisis: Experiences from the Global South (2/2)

August 12, 2020

Author: Andrea Medrado This post, published in two parts (FIND PART ONE HERE), reports on a panel session which took place at the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) annual conference, among four initiatives involved with community media responses to COVID-19. Members of the four initiatives, based in… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Resilient Media in Times of Crisis: Experiences from the Global South (1/2)

August 7, 2020

Author: Andrea Medrado This post, published in two parts, reports on a panel session which took place at the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) annual conference, among four initiatives involved with community media responses to COVID-19. Members of the four initiatives, based in India, Brazil, Mexico and… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Living with Instalive in Iran: Social Media Use in Authoritarian Countries during the Pandemic

July 30, 2020

Header photo references: Vahid Salemi – Associated Press. LA Times. Authors: Hossein Kermani and Maria Faust This article argues that Instalive is not only a channel for personal communication; it also functions as an alternative TV in restrictive contexts with limited access to free and independent media. Therefore, in this… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] COVID-19 in the UK: The Exacerbation of Inequality and a Digitally-Based Response

July 28, 2020

Authors: Massimo Ragnedda and Maria Laura Ruiu The COVID-19 crisis has been shown to highlight existing forms of socio-economic inequality across the world’s Souths. This article illustrates the reinforcement of such inequalities in the United Kingdom, showing the heightened vulnerability of minorities and marginalised citizens and proposing a response based… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Making the virus visible with (responsible) mobile data

July 23, 2020

Technologies to track COVID-19 spread with data generated by mobile devices bring the discussion about responsible use of data to a global level, creating an opportunity to push for regulatory frameworks.   by Peter Füssy   Although the Covid-19 outbreak is known since December, the first images of the virus were… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Argentina-Brasil: La resignificación del uso de la tecnología en épocas de pandemia

July 21, 2020

In a world in constant evolution, Latin America is probably the region where the COVID-19 pandemic has most changed the way we communicate as a society, and technology is at the core of this change. This post reviews the cases of Argentina and Brazil as examples to illustrate how the… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] National stereotypes in times of COVID-19: the ‘frugal four’ and the ‘irresponsible South’

July 16, 2020

When EU leaders discuss the coronavirus Recovery Fund at the upcoming meeting of the European Council on Friday, some persistent European stereotypes will accompany negotiations. by Luiza Bialasiewicz This article was first published on OpenDemocracy on July 13, 2020.   The on-going debates regarding the coronavirus Recovery Fund that will form… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] COVID-19 and Its Impact on Marginalised Communities in Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines

July 14, 2020

Although Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines have pursued different approaches to address the COVID-19 pandemic, they have all had a disproportionate impact on marginalised groups. This article discusses the effects of COVID-19 measures on migrant workers in Singapore, the LGBT community in South Korea, and rural and Indigenous… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] COVID-19 in Africa: A Datafied Society, Battling the Invisible Enemy

July 9, 2020

This article addresses the role of data in efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. Drawing on multiple state examples, it discusses the ethical questions posed by datafied public health surveillance and the importance of harmonising national data protection systems.   By Oarabile Mudongo COVID-19 presents a dynamic overtone… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] COVID-19 from the Margins: What We Have Learned So Far

July 6, 2020

COVID-19 from the Margins was launched at the beginning of May 2020 as a multilingual blog platform, with the aim to give voice to narratives on the pandemic from social groups and individuals invisibilized by mainstream coverage and policies.. Two months down the line, we reflect on the core threads… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Sensing COVID-19 and Climate Change [2/2]

July 2, 2020

by Marie Petersmann and Anna Berti Suman   Read Part I, published on June 30th Citizen Sensing: From Sensing Radiations to COVID-19 In the immediate aftermath of the disastrous earthquake and tsunami that struck eastern Japan on 11 March 2011 and the subsequent meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Sensing COVID-19 and Climate Change [1/2]

June 30, 2020

by Marie Petersmann and Anna Berti Suman Adapted from Petersmann, M. and A. Berti Suman, Sensing COVID-19 and Climate Change. Environmental Law Blog, May 2020. Over the past weeks, a plethora of articles explored the relations between the COVID-19 crisis and the climate catastrophe by framing the former as an opportunity to learn lessons… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] COVID-19 in Argentina: When the micro-practices of activism fit in a WhatsApp message

June 26, 2020

This article addresses the importance of WhatsApp during COVID-19 times in Argentina. It analyzes the use of WhatsApp amidst informal and institutional actors and the bridges it has built for interacting, communicating and creating communitarianism. by Raquel Tarullo* Circles of friends, members of sports clubs, parents associations and work colleagues… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Making Sense of the Pandemic through Data: The Italian Case

June 24, 2020

What does it mean, in everyday life, to experience the first pandemic in a datafied society? This article takes a data perspective to discuss the specificities of the Italian experience of the COVID-19 crisis.   by Tiziano Bonini Forms of datafication of society during the COVID-19 pandemic have varied from… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] The LGBTQ+ community during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil

June 19, 2020

At a time when the World Health Organization and other government officials say “do stay at home!”, which home does the LGBTQ+ community has the option to stay in? This article illuminates the struggles lived by the LGBTQ+ community during the COVID-19 crisis, also illustrating some of the initiatives taken… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Liberating COVID-19 data with volunteers in Brazil

June 17, 2020

While the government limits access to information, data activists are consolidating and structuring COVID-19 data for open access.   by Peter Füssy While healthcare workers fight the coronavirus pandemic with drugs and ventilators, journalists and data activists try to tackle the infodemic with numbers and visualizations. In Brazil, it is… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Gerenciando incertezas às próprias custas: Motoristas Uber sob a pandemia no Brasil

June 12, 2020

Enquanto o Brasil se torna o novo epicentro da pandemia, motoristas Uber precisam escolher entre arriscar seu bem estar e desistir de sua principal fonte de renda. O que há de novo nisso? Conversamos com três motoristas de Belo Horizonte para descobrir. Por Ana Guerra Read in English O Brasil… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Managing uncertainty at your own expense: Brazilian Uber drivers during the Covid-19 pandemics

June 12, 2020

With Brazil becoming the hotspot for the COVID-19 pandemic, Uber drivers in the country have to choose between putting their wellbeing at risk and giving up their main source of income. But is there anything new about this? We spoke to three Uber drivers in Belo Horizonte to find out.… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] The pandemic and the new socio-digital order in the Global South: The case of São Paulo

June 10, 2020

What happens when the digital city encounters large-scale disasters and pandemics like COVID-19? This article analyzes the case of São Paulo, Brazil, to illustrate how the pandemic contributes to emphasize a broad spectrum of inequalities. In the largest metropolis in Latin America, the population lives with a strong disparity of… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] A pandemia e a nova ordem sociodigital no Sul Global: O caso de São Paulo

June 10, 2020

O que acontece quando a cidade digital encontra desastres e pandemias em grande escala como o COVID-19? Este artigo analisa o caso de São Paulo, Brasil, para ilustrar como a pandemia contribui para enfatizar um amplo espectro de desigualdades. Na maior metrópole da América Latina, a população experimenta com uma forte disparidade… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Four invisible enemies in the first pandemic of a “datafied society”

June 9, 2020

COVID-19 lays bare the nuances of a society undergoing digital data transformation in nearly every field of human activity, from its most beneficial to its most disturbing aspects By Philip Di Salvo and Stefania Milan This post was first published on Open Democracy on June 8, 2020. [read in Italian]… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Fighting for Feminist COVID-19 Figures: A Call for Feminist Data Visualizations During the Pandemic

June 8, 2020

by Erinne Paisley During the COVID-19 global pandemic, we have all had to make signification adjustments to our daily lives. One of these is reading more news. This news contains an endless stream of data and it has been up to government bodies, health organizations, and journalists to sort through this… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] COVID_19 and the Argentine theatre

June 5, 2020

If a little bit of power is enough to show how someone really is, a global pandemic strips states as they are, shading light on their failings: transparency in the case of China, a smooth coordination between the national and the sub-national powers in Italy, or a guaranteed access to… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] COVID-19 Pandemic and biopolitics in Latin America

June 3, 2020

Does the COVID-19 pandemic mark the birth of a new form of biopolitics? The Latin American case shows important departures from Europe and the United States, both in the adoption of surveillance technologies and in the types of biopolitical control enacted through them. by Silvio Waisbord and María Soledad Segura… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] On not being visible to the state: The case of Peru

June 1, 2020

The Peruvian tragedies are manifold. This blog post directs attention to one in particular related to the matter of counting during the pandemic. Although most of the debate focuses on how governments count the infected and the deceased, this post reflects on how the Peruvian state counts the living to… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] COVID-19 and Non-Personal Data in the Indian context: On the Normative Ideal of Public Interest  

May 29, 2020

Even as activists and ethical technologists have been writing about and working on Personal Data and Privacy, the newer arena of Non-Personal Data (NPD) is very under-explored. What is the role of NPD in the face of a global pandemic like COVID-19? How do we deal with the possible economic… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] The case of the Solidarity Income in Colombia: The experimentation with data on social policy during the pandemic

May 27, 2020

The uncertainty of the pandemic has turned into an opportunity for the implementation of technological solutions to complex issues rather than an occasion to deploy coherent decision-making processes. During the social and economic crisis caused by COVID-19, the National Development Office of Colombia, set up an unconditional funding transfer system… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] La marcha digital de las madres de los desaparecidos en México

May 25, 2020

[EN] Mother’s Day is the symbolic anniversary for the Mexican desaparecidos’ mothers. During that occasion they protest and show their anger and pain in front of the institutions and national and international public opinion. This posts highlights their efforts to reaffirm the need for justice and truth during the coronavirus pandemic,… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] In Memory of COVID-19 in China: Various Forms of Digital Resistance towards Censorship

May 22, 2020

COVID-19, an epidemic that emerged in Wuhan city, has been always entangled with information censorship since the very beginning of it being detected in China. The Internet has witnessed a battle between censorship towards criticism and investigative reports, as well as supported various forms of resistance such as organizing group-documentation… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Riesgos e incertidumbres en las aplicaciones para el rastreo de contagios (2/2)

May 20, 2020

by Javier Sánchez-Monedero (Data Justice Lab)[EN] After weeks of debate on the implications of contact-tracking applications to fight COVID-19, there is an urgent need to interrogate their effectiveness and social impact beyond privacy and data protection issues. The recent proposal by Google and Apple imposes a model of governance of… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Riesgos e incertidumbres en las aplicaciones para el rastreo de contagios (1/2)

May 18, 2020

by Javier Sánchez-Monedero (Data Justice Lab) Originally published in El Salto Diario [EN] After weeks of debate on the implications of contact-tracking applications to fight COVID-19, there is an urgent need to interrogate their effectiveness and social impact beyond privacy and data protection issues. The recent proposal by Google and… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Rescatar lo común. Redes de cuidados en España

May 15, 2020

[EN] Children from precarious families have been more affected during the coronavirus pandemic due to their economic condition. The organization of citizens through social movements has been extremely effective in showing the lack of public policies to serve the poorest families. [ES] Los niños de las familias vulnerables han sido… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] La otra epidemia: Los feminicidios que no se cuentan

May 12, 2020

by Teresa Villaseñor Antes del Covid-19, México ya sufría otra epidemia que durante el 2019 reclamó miles de vidas: los feminicidios. ¿Qué están haciendo las mujeres mexicanas para visibilizar la violencia de género en tiempos de cuarentena? English abstract. As the COVID-19 virus spreads across Central America, another pandemic remains under… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] The Russian “Sovereign Internet” Facing Covid-19

May 10, 2020

What does the Covid-19 crisis say about the Russian state’s digital power, and the challenges it poses to public freedoms? By Olga Bronnikova, Françoise Daucé, Ksenia Ermoshina, Francesca Musiani, Bella Ostromooukhova, Anna Zaytseva Originally published in French on The Conversation France on April 29, 2020, under a Creative Commons BY-NC… Read more

[BigDataSur-COVID] Surveillance in the Time of Coronavirus: The Case of the Indian contact tracing app Aarogya Setu

April 30, 2020

by Soumyo Das (Center of Information Technology and Public Policy at IIIT Bangalore) Covid-19 has brought governments across the world to the drawing boards trying to design efficient pandemic containment strategies. In India, while reports suggest that the rise in number of cases has reduced from exponential levels, the spread… Read more

[BigDataSur] The dilemma of making migrants visible to COVID-19 counting

April 28, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic requires reconsidering the relationship between data and invisible populations as a form of de facto civil inclusion. While most forms of data management of populations are problematic, under which conditions would counting be just? Annalisa Pelizza and Yoren Lausberg, Processing Citizenship research program, University of Bologna Stefania… Read more

[blog] I quattro nemici (quasi) invisibili nella prima pandemia dell’era della società dei dati

April 25, 2020

by Philip Di Salvo, Stefania Milan  originally published on Il Manifesto, 24 April 2020 Big Data e Covid. La pandemia sta facendo emergere fenomeni e caratteristiche della società dei dati che, in circostanze di emergenza come quelle di queste settimane, rischiano di concretizzare quelli che—fino a poco fa—potevano essere considerati… Read more

[BigDataSur] Beyond Touchscreens: The perils of biometric social welfare in lockdown

April 23, 2020

In the context of COVID-19, what are the perils involved by the perpetuated subordination of social welfare access to biometric identification? Silvia Masiero Gradually over the last years, India has introduced biometric identification of users in most of its social welfare schemes. One of the main such schemes is the… Read more

[BigDataSur] A widening data divide: COVID-19 and the Global South

April 3, 2020

COVID-19 shows the need for a global alliance of experts who can fast-track the capacity building of developing countries in the business of counting. Stefania Milan & Emiliano Treré The COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping the world. First identified in mainland China in December 2019, it has rapidly reached the four… Read more