The Network Age offers a range of opportunities to humanitarian organizations, but there are also several risks which are described in the paper “Humanitarianism in the Network Age”:
- Accuracy and Utility
If the basic data is wrong, the decisions based on the analysis of that data will reflect those errors and can lead to incorrect errors.
The digital divide poses a significant risk. Adopting techniques or models of interaction that rely on new technologies migth further exclude and disenfranchise substantial numbers of marginalized people.
Information systemss, communications and data are expressions of power, and access to information is often a contested space.
- Information overload
In a resourcelimited environment, the cost of analysis can easily be overwhelming.
- Increased expectations
People start to expect humanitarian organizations to use social media channels appropriately. One example is a Red Cross research which found that three out of four Americans expect help within three hours of posting a request on social media, demonstrating a pattern of year-on-year increases in expectations.
- Privacy, ethics and security
New Technologies can create new threats, such as a greater risk of surveillance or manipulation.
(source: Humanitarianism in the Network Age)