The Big (Data) Bang: What will it mean for compiling SDG indicators?

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published a paper that looks at possible ways for big data to contribute to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) global monitoring framework. To this aim, the paper outlines the opportunities, challenges, and governance issues vis-à-vis big data from the perspective of producing SDG indicators with special focus on the challenges surrounding access, and confidentiality and privacy.  According to the report, big data offers some opportunities that help ensure SDGs are in line with policy needs through improving the accuracy of information and introducing new measures to understand the human conditions and progress of development. Yet, the paper warns against the misuse of big data seeing the infringement of human rights that could be ensued. Another challenge of big data is the growth of unreliable information which would further make it hard to determine the quality and veracity of big data from a statistical perspective.