Special Topics: Emergency Alert Study Reveals Metadata’s Better Side

The special topic calls for papers on Emergency Alert Study Reveals Metadata’s Better Side and such papers will appear in Studies in Sociology of Science as a special column.

Affiliated research area: Public Safety, Social Network, Personal Information, the Safety of Information


Cellphone metadata, at the center of the recent Edward Snowden leaks in the United States, isn’t just helpful to spooks and secret spy programs with Orwellian names. According to one new study, for instance, small samples of cellphone metadata can reveal emergency situations in real time in a way that could benefit first responders and protect the public.

The new finding reveals the double-edged sword that metadata has become. All data—including the metadata Snowden’s leak showed the National Security Agency to be collecting—is value-neutral. It is useful for purposes good or bad or somewhere in between. So while the Snowden-NSA debate today is sometimes framed as though the metadata were the problem, the public safety study joins a raft of recent research highlighting other uncontroversial and productive uses of metadata.

The research was inspired by a massive forest fire in Israel in 2010, one that claimed 44 lives and took 82 hours to extinguish. Had officials been notified of the blaze soon after it began, much of the ensuing tragedy might have been avoided, says Erez Shmueli, a postdoctoral researcher at MIT’s Media Lab.


In addition to the Review and Original Articles by invited speakers, we are inviting you to submit a relevant research paper on Emergency Alert Study Reveals Metadata’s Better Side for consideration. Papers will be subject to normal peer review and must comply with the Guide for Authors.

To submit papers to the “Emergency Alert Study Reveals Metadata’s Better Side” Special Topic, please go to http://www.cscanada.net. With your submission, please state clearly to the editor that your manuscripts are submitted to the Special Topic Emergency Alert Study Reveals Metadata’s Better Side.


Related Journals (Special issue):

Studies in Sociology of Science, ISSN 1923-0176 [Print], ISSN 1923-0184 [Online]. http://cscanada.net/index.php/sss/index

Related articles:

Emergency Alert Study Reveals Metadata’s Better Side By Mark Anderson Posted 24 Jul 2013