A policy memo on deadly viral rumours in Indian social media

Disclaimer: This blog post was written as an assignment for DPI-662 ‘Digital Government’ class at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government — It is based on a fiction inspired from true recent facts.

Executive summary

Over the past two months, fake rumour spread on social media that 400 “xopadhora” (or child lifters) were kidnapping children in the streets of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, to sell their organs. Trafficked videos were shared on Facebook and messages calling for violence were forwarded virally on WhatsApp. Resulting mob killings took away the lives of 20 innocent people. Numerically, it may seem insignificant in India (vs. 200,000 deaths…


On digital user-tracking

Disclaimer: This blog post was written as an assignment for DPI-662 ‘Digital Government’ class at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government

In this article, I will discuss how Facebook collects data on our behaviours. However I consent to it, an inalienable feeling of discomfort persists, because I fear that my data can anytime be misused by intentioned agents.

1. On intentionality

Imagine that you live in the XIXth century. In the streets of London or Vienna, young boys sell the latest newspapers. One follows you to your house and tells The Observer where you live and whether you like Pouchkine or Shakespeare. With…


CIO / EOTSS Policy memo to the Office of Governor C. Baker

Disclaimer: this memo was written as an assignment for the DPI-662 class ‘Digital Government’ taught by David Eaves at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Government-as-a-Platform (GaaP) is the necessary, bold next step to improve public service efficiency, unlock innovative solutions and make Massachussets a frontrunner in Digital Government by 2020. As starting points, CIO recommends creating an authentication product and a citizens’ registrar.

1. Context & Motivation

Henri Brebant

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