21 July 2012

Crowdsourced Risk: Situational Awareness in Mass Emergency...

Real-time information and raw intelligence via mobile devices has changed the risk management dialogue from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to the corporate board room.  Operational Risk Management (ORM) professionals are leveraging this information in combination with crowdsourced mapping applications, GPS, video feeds and live reporting.  Intelligence Analysts have leveraged Big Data and Digital Analytics to extract the relevance of key questions asked by their constituents.

These same ORM professionals also realize the raw data feeds from John Q. Citizen is exactly that.  Fact checking, vetting and data verification is still the task of journalistic and intelligence experts.

Whether you are talking about risk incidents that involve whistleblowers on Wall Street, severe weather events, natural disasters, the Arab Spring or an active shooter in a Denver, CO suburb; social media is there.  Corporate Chief Information Officers are in the middle of "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) policy development, while National Public Radio (NPR) is using Twitter as a news room approach to reporting in the Middle East.  Errors, Omissions and the operational risks associated with this "New Normal" is upon us with the crowdsourced future of news and intelligence:
Only a few days ago, we were writing about how users of Twitter and Reddit used those networks to tell a compelling story about a mass shooting in Toronto, and now the same phenomenon is playing out in real-time during another horrific incident: a shooting at a movie theater in Colorado that has killed at least a dozen people and wounded more than 50. Although local TV news channels and CNN have been all over the story since it broke late Thursday night, some of the best fact-based information gathering has been taking place on Reddit and via curation tools like Storify. In each of these events, we can see how a new form of journalism — one that blends traditional reporting and crowdsourced reports — is taking shape.
When an era of these applications and petabytes of pictures and videos are available to the public the journalist/analyst has a tremendous volume of sources.  And with those sources, comes a renewed responsibility to the integrity of the real mission before us.  The truth.  What is actually the truth?  What happened to whom and when?

The private sector has been leveraging Big Data Analytics for decades, including little known companies such as Acxiomto collect and verify information on people, for the purpose of marketing.  This indeed is a mature and established sector of the consumer retail industry and financial institutions for the purpose of operational risk management:
Acxiom Identity Data on Demand is a consumer-based web service that allows qualified organizations to use specifically regulated data for:
  • Fraud prevention
  • Debt recovery
  • Location of individuals (beneficiaries, witnesses, victims and missing persons)
  • Fraud management
  • Adherence to laws and legal requirements
Get fast access to real-time, comprehensive and cost-effective data on more than 300 million U.S. consumers. Even better: You’re in complete control. Unique data sets can be added as your data and business needs evolve, and you can control as many or as few pieces of information as you wish. Our advantage is in the flexibility and breadth of our data—our single application programming interface saves you the time and energy of having to aggregate multiple sources of data. 
Acxiom applies our industry-leading data integration and recognition capability, which eliminates the need for time-consuming entity resolution—giving you a high confidence that you have the right information on the individual—and helps you to quickly identify and prevent fraud.
The ideal combination of vetted and proven data sources from private sector companies such as Acxiom in the U.S. along with the raw reporting of information from the social media sources is the future of journalistic trade craft.  When journalism from trusted sources or intelligence reports from trusted analysts misuse or error in their use of these tools the operational risk factors are magnified.  This can damage reputations and even jeopardize human lives.

The mobile social media revolution has the potential to be a Pandora's Box.  Operational Risk Management discipline provides the framework and the proven methodologies to mitigate the likelihood of a "Decision Disadvantage."  Whether you are the editor of a major publication or the watch commander at the local police department does not matter.  Whether you are the CISO at a major corporate enterprise or the head of a government intelligence agency does not matter.  The mobile social media revolution is upon us and the new rule-sets should be established soon.  Where does it begin?

It begins long before Journalism school or high school english class.  The ethics and integrity of information is at stake and begins the first time you hand a pre-teen their first mobile digital device.  The information posted on Facebook, Reddit or the organizational blog is at stake.  Crowdsourcing and Crowdmapping with the correct tools and trusted rule-sets is just the beginning.  

From innovation to Revolution, Patrick Meier and his blog captures even more on the crowdsourcing topics we have started to explore in this post.  Also be sure to visit Sarah Vieweg's latest dissertation on situational analysis:

Situational Awareness in Mass Emergency: A Behavioral and Linguistic Analysis of Microblogged Communications (2012)
"In times of mass emergency, users of Twitter (a popular microblogging service) often communicate information about the event, some of which contributes to situational awareness. Situational awareness refers to a state of understanding the “big picture” in time- and safety-critical situations. The more situational awareness people have, the better equipped they are to make informed decisions. Given that hundreds of millions of Twitter communications (known as “tweets”) are sent every day and emergency events regularly occur, automated methods are needed to identify those tweets that contain actionable, tactical information."

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