Data for Humanity: A Request for Support.

Dear Colleagues,

We are reaching out to you to ask for your support for this initiative.

We feel the need to link together people who share the common motivation of using Data for the Common Good and for Human Wellbeing.

Below is an open letter that details the overall goal and the principles that we find important to be implemented by researchers, educators, as well as public and private stakeholders that own/ have access to Data and use Data analytics.

If you share the overall goal and the five principles listed below, please sign it:

 Among the current 1028 signatories of this initiative (as of April 26, 2016):

-Vint Cerf, Google, one of “the fathers of the Internet”;

four members of the Independent Expert Advisory Group to the United Nations Secretary-General on a Data Revolution for Sustainable Development (IEAG):

– Professor Alex Pentland, MIT,

– Mr. Robert Kirkpatrick, UN Global Pulse,

– Professor Enrico Giovannini, co-chair of the UN Expert Advisory Group,

– Nicolas de Cordes, VP Marketing Anticipation at Orange Group,


– NICHOLAS B. DIRKS, Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley

– Michael Hengartner, President, University of Zurich

– Oliver Günther, President, University of Potsdam

– Christopher McKee, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research, University of California, Berkeley

– Ursina Baumgartner, Rektorin, Kalaidos University of Applied Science

– Professor Spiros Simitis, Goethe University, Frankfurt (previous representative for Data protection at the German ministry)

– Princess Nana Yakubu, Founder/CEO of African Poverty Alleviation Initiative

– Jake Porway, Founder and Executive Director, DataKind

– Steve Lohr, New York Times, Pulitzer Price Winner

– Philippe Kahn, Creator of the camera-phone, CEO of Fullpower

– Alon Halevy, CEO Recruit Institute of Technology

– Anjul Bhambhri, Vice President of Architecture at Adobe

– Michael “Monty” Widenius, MariaDB Foundation

– Brendan McDonald, United Nation Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

– Stefan Spycher, Federal Office of Public Health Switzerland

– Helga Portmann, Head Federal Office of Public Health, Switzeland

– Holger Volland, Vice President Frankfurt Book Fair

– Lester Coutinho, Gates Foundation

– Patrick Gordon, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

– Lutz Finger, DataScientist in Residence at Cornell University, Director Data at LinkedIn

– Mikel Maron, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap

– Gio Wiederhold, Stanford University

– Lucy Bernholz, Stanford University

– Jure Leskovec, Stanford University

– Bebo White, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

– Amir R. Zamir, Stanford University

– Joseph Hellerstein, UC Berkeley

– Kellie Ottoboni, University of California, Berkeley; Department of Statistics

– Philip B. Stark, Department of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley

– Ken Goldberg, UC Berkeley Center for IT in the Interest of Society (CITRIS)

– Admir Skodo, University of California, Berkeley

– Ikhlaq SIDHU, University of California, Berkeley

– Leslie Sheppard, MIT

– Richard Wang, MIT Chief Data Officer & Information Quality Program

– Michael Brodie, CSAIL MIT

– Leslie Sheppard, MIT

– Michael Carey, University of California, Irvine

– Graham Ward, University of Oxford

– Dr. Jan Mischke, senior fellow McKinsey Global Institute (MGI)

– Jian Jin, Beijing Normal University

– Antonello Ceravola, Honda R&D

– Frank Joublin, Honda Research Institute Europe

– Roger S. Barga, Amazon Web Services and the University of Washington

– Kirk Borne, Booz Allen Hamilton

– Dr. JT Kostman, Chief Data Officer, Time Inc.

– Anita de Waard, VP Research Data Services ELsevier

– Manjeet Chayel,

– Nick Marko, MD, CDO Geisinger Health System

– Carsten Hentrich, PWC

– Alessandro Donati, European Space Agency

– Gerald Santucci, European Commission

– Paul Timmers, European Commission

– Andrea Servida, European Commission

– Antonio Puente, European Commission

– Federico Milani, European Commission

– Beatrice Covassi

– Dr. Thomas Schilling, Bayer CropScience AG

– Nuria Oliver, Telefonica

– Richard Benjamins, Group Director BI & Big Data Telefonica

– Erick Fernandes, The World Bank

– Alex Rossi, ING manager

– Christian Garbe, Frankfurt Innovation Center

– Thomas Baar, Peace Informatics Lab, Centre for Innovation, Leiden University

– Paolo Tasca, Deutsche Bundesbank and ECUREX Research

– John K. Thompson, GM, Advanced Analytics, Dell Software

– Doug Cutting, Cloudera

– Tamara Dull, SAS Institute

– Paul Kent, SAS

– Steven Miller, IBM

– Manoj Saxena, Exec Chairman, Cognitive Scale. Former GM, IBM Watson

– Tina Tang, SAP SE

– Kushal Datta, Intel Corporation

– Walt Maguire, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

– Haifeng Chen, NEC Labs America

– Gokula Mishra, VP, Big Data & Advanced Analytics, Oracle

– Robert Greene, Oracle

– Gokula Mishra, VP, Big Data & Advanced Analytics, Oracle

– Stephen A. Brobst, CTO Teradata Corporation

– Grady Booch

– Thomas Zarinac, Accenture

– Krishna Gade, Pinterest

– Michaline Todd, MarkLogic

– Reza Taheri, VMware

– Steven Graves, McObject

– Devi Ramanan, Ayasdi

– Giovanni Marelli, Lufthansa

– BHABRATA BHATTACHARYA, Siemens Corporate Technologies, Siemens Corporation, USA

– Douglas B Laney, Gartner

– Carl Olofson, IDC

– Emmanuel Letouzé, Director, Data-Pop Alliance

– Dirk Heilmann, Handelsblatt Research Institute

– Ramkumar Ravichandran, VISA

– Alistair Croll, Solve For Interesting

– Joy Robson, Data for Good

– Geoff Zakaib, Director, Data for Good

– Edward Curry, Vice President, Big Data Value Association

– Johannes Gehrke, Microsoft

– Matthew Gee, University of Chicago & The Impact Lab

– Ben Lorica, O’Reilly Media

– Ken Birman, Cornell University

– Ihab Ilyas, University of Waterloo

– Serge Abiteboul, Inria

– Patrick Valduriez, Inria

– Arjuna Sathiaseelan, University of Cambridge

– Michael VanRooyen, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

– Nathaniel A. Raymond, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

– Claudia Perlich, NYU

– Avigdor Gal, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology

– Ulrich Mans, Leiden University, Centre for Innovation

– Thomas Baar, Peace Informatics Lab (Leiden University)

– Dr. Dirk Helbing, ETH Zurich

– Graham Ward, University of Oxford

– Barclay T Blair, Executive Director, Information Governance Initiative

– Prof H S Jamadagni, Indian Institute of Science

– Dr. Syed Nasir Mehmood, Pakistan Society of Computational Science

– G. M. Abdur Rahman, Agricultural Engineer, Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh

– Avril Benoit, Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders

– Brigitte PINIEWSKI, PeaceHealth Laboratories

– Anne Kjær Riechert, Berlin Peace Innovation Lab

– Eveline Tavares, Action Against Hunger

– Jelena Madzarevic, International Rescue Committee (IRC)

– Sabrina Juran, United Nationa Population Fund

– Alissa Chisholm, Data & Society Research Institute

– Claire Fontaine, Data & Society Research Institute

– Dr. Lisa Kitinoja, The Postharvest Education Foundation

– Patrick Gordon, United Nations OCHA

– Virginia Carlson, IMPACT Planning Council

– Dr. Jagmohan Bajaj, Ministry of Education-UNESCO

– Andrea Powell, CABI

– Victor Anjos, Co-founder, Data For Good

Now that we receive over 1,000 signatures, then the initiators of this letter will consider the possibility to create an organization: Data for Humanity, or alternatively to seek for an existing organisation interested in our initiative and willing to include it in their activities.

Data for Humanity will aim to raise awareness of the principles in the context of the use/access of data, facilitate exchange between people and organizations who share the goal and the principles, and support data initiatives that are dedicated to these principles around the world.

For any questions please do not hesitate to contact us: e-mail: roberto AT

Feel free to forward this note to colleagues who may be interested to support this initiative.

Best Regards

Professor Roberto V. Zicari, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany & Visiting Scholar UC Berkeley

Professor Andrej Zwitter, University of Groningen, the Netherlands


Data for Humanity: An Open Letter

Information is power and data is its raw material. We are experiencing an unprecedented ascent of Big Data, the development of data science and the increasing omnipresence of data analytics. We are also witnessing both the promise and the peril of the ubiquitous acquisition of personal data by organizations of all types.

Given its novelty, and the current shortcomings of codes of conducts and legal regulations, data entrepreneurs, governments, data scientists and educators have yet to find the right balance between the power that data give and the responsibility that comes with it.

This development of datafication of the world comes at a time with great challenges, such as climate change, mass migration, deterioration of personal privacy, and protracted conflicts.

Therefore, we believe that it is important to help encouraging people and institutions to use data on sound principles that serve humanity.

We want to bring people from different disciplines and professions together, who share the motivation of using Data for the Common Good and for Human Wellbeing, in order to ensure that data serves humanity.

Goal:To bring people and institutions together who share the motivation to use Data for Common Good / human wellbeing

 We encourage people and institutions who own and/or do work with data and who share the following principles to sign this letter of support.


  1. Do no harm
  2. Use data to help create peaceful coexistence
  3. Use data to help vulnerable people and people in need
  4. Use data to preserve and improve natural environment
  5. Use data to help creating a fair world without discrimination


Professor Roberto V. Zicari, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

Professor Andrej Zwitter, University of Groningen, the Netherlands


To sign the open letter, please follow this link:


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