There are now 6 billion cell phone subscriptions in the world, and one third of the world’s population is online. These numbers are growing rapidly, particularly in the developing world, and they demonstrate an unparalleled level of global interconnectivity. They also point to the unprecedented amount of data that we are generating while using new information and communication technologies (ICTs): in 2012 alone, humans generated more data than over the course of their entire history.
This report explores the ways in which ICTs and the data they generate can assist international actors, governments, and civil society organizations to more effectively prevent violence and conflict. It examines the contributions that cell phones, social media, crowdsourcing, crisis mapping, blogging, and big data analytics can make to short-term efforts to forestall crises and to long-term initiatives to address the root causes of violence. Five case studies assess the use of such tools in a variety of regions (Africa, Asia, Latin America) experiencing different types of violence (criminal violence, election-related violence, armed conflict, short term crisis) in different political contexts (restrictive and collaborative governments).