Computer security for data collection technologies

Camille Cobb, Samuel Sudar, Nicholas Reiter, Richard Anderson, Franziska Roesner, Tadayoshi Kohno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many organizations in the developing world (e.g., NGOs), include digital data collection in their workflow. Data collected can include information that may be considered sensitive, such as medical or socioeconomic data, and which could be affected by computer security attacks or unintentional mishandling. The attitudes and practices of organizations collecting data have implications for confidentiality, availability, and integrity of data. This work, a collaboration between computer security and ICTD researchers, explores security and privacy attitudes, practices, and needs within organizations that use Open Data Kit (ODK), a prominent digital data collection platform. We conduct a detailed threat modeling exercise to inform our view on potential security threats, and then conduct and analyze a survey and interviews with technology experts in these organizations to ground this analysis in real deployment experiences. We then reflect upon our results, drawing lessons for both organizations collecting data and for tool developers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopment Engineering
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Data collection
  • ICTD
  • Security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • General Engineering
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Computer Science Applications


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