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The University of Southampton
Web Science Institute

WebSci21: Keynote 4

Global Digital Infrastructure in a Post-Pandemic World

In this talk, Jennifer Zhu Scott talks about the need to create global inclusive data infrastructures and processes to address global issues such as Pandemics and future global opportunities. She notes that whilst individual businesses and governments must necessarily be part of solution, the benefits of such global systems should lie with the public (humanity) at large rather than only privately to a small number of mega-corps.


Technology has become a transformative force in almost every aspect of our lives. It permeates our personal, economic, and political life. However, large for-profit tech companies or a handful of tech-savvy governments dominate the vast majority of digital services and solutions. Such a reality of our current data economy means highly concentrated data control and ownership.

The global pandemic is both a global public health and economic crisis. However, it also exposes the painful absence of a global digital infrastructure to provide critical services such as COVID-related data interoperability between countries to accelerate safe reopening. Billions of people are being vaccinated and tested for COVID. How should they prove and record their testing and vaccination data? Who should have access to and control such data? As the world reflects on a more responsible and inclusive data economy, how can we take the opportunity to build a global digital infrastructure that belongs to people from all countries?

This talk discusses the technical as well as the governance considerations for a viable global solution, and what might be the future implications to the global data economy.


About the Video Vault Series

In partnership with the ACM we are pleased to be able to release a series of videos from the most recent Web Science Conference (ACM WebSci’21) that were previously only available to attendees of the conference. The series will be released fortnightly and will include a selection of Keynote talks and Spotlight panel discussions.

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This video is (c) 2021 provided under license from the ACM.

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