Open Data and Block Chains with Open Data Perspectives that are Increasing Importance During the Covid-19 Crisis


“The coronavirus knows no boundaries, and the solution must be international,” says the IMF, as a result of its economic projections for 2020-2021. (April 2020 World Economic Outlook Report)

Estimates about unemployment rates also darken us. More than 6.6 million people lost their jobs in the US alone in April. However, not all sectors are affected by this situation in the same way and in the same rate. For example, we experience congestion  in terms of raw materials due to food and medical equipment related panic intake and unpredictable increase in need. On the other hand, there is the oil crisis erupting from unstoppable overproduction. This crisis environment is expected to continue for 1 year or more.

On the one hand, the basic food that has reached sky-high price, the medical equipment and material deficit on the one hand, and the unemployment forecasts that darken us on the other. The  good news is that the main reason for imbalances are never insufficient resources, and today, the reason is not insufficient resources, but insufficient planning.

Striking additional information to understand that insufficiency is not the actual problem:

– An estimated 800 million people have not been adequately fed around the world.

– The total number of overweight and obese people around the world is estimated at more than 2 billion.

It may not be nice to say that now, but sometimes an example is better than precept. Whichever article, report, and news I come across these days, state that Covid 19 crisis can only be overcome with international collaborations.

Perhaps this crisis can be an accelerator for the issues that are underlined that urgent improvement or action should be taken by predictive experts.

– One of them is Open Data

“Open Data” is an idea put forward in the 1940s. It argues that the results of scientific researches should be shared transparently in order to develop humanity. Today, this idea 

Although the importance of the issue has been repeatedly emphasized since then, if you want to see the progress made on open data objectively in the past 80 years, you can browse the indexes of the countries from here.

–  Why is open data important during the pandemic period?

The most important aspect of open data applications is cooperation. Cooperation refers to the ability of systems and organizations to work together and produce results.

Let’s address the two major problems during the crisis:

  1. To prevent further spread of the outbreak
  2. At the same time, to provide access to basic requirements for the continuation of life.

We live in a period when the view that machines are superior to the human mind is dominant. Thanks to the superior calculation and prediction capabilities of the programs, we can manage big data with a click and shape the future with predictions, but we see that a tiny virus can turn the balance of the whole world upside down. Even worse, we are lost to reduce negative effects. I think the reason is very clear. Because this is an unfamiliar equation for coronavirus researchers. Although there is knowledge about similar issues and tools to make evaluations based on these similarities, sufficient and accurate data cannot be provided for scientists in this new equation. The most critical thing to make statistical judgments is enough data. Therefore, lack of data makes it difficult to make predictions and inferences about the unknown elements of this equation. As a result, in a crisis environment, this can also lead to wrong decisions. For example, against experts who say that wearing a mask will not protect you until a few weeks ago, it is forbidden to go out without a mask in our country today. I think it was a very important mistake that should be noted in history.

Let’s do another small test and take a look at the primitive data on the outbreak process collected and published by the Johns Hopkins University “Coronovirus Resource Center” through this link. When we look at the data of the Republic of Burundi on the continent of Africa on the map, we see 11 confirmed cases and 1 death !! The Republic of Burundi must be very successful in managing the epidemic crisis / or these data do not reflect the truth. Let’s select the data from some cities in Turkey. But we cannot, because there is no data we can look at!

If the most educated and equipped people who have the capacity to solve this unpredictable coronavirus crisis cannot access the correct and sufficient data, how long do you think the solutions will take? I would like to underline that we are responsible for providing sufficient data as states, institutions, commercial enterprises and individuals.

Now there will be those who object by evaluating the subject with personal data sensitivity. As mentioned in the announcement published by the Personal Data Protection Authority recently, in the subparagraph (ç) of the paragraph 28 (1) of the 28th article of the Law No. 6698, the duties and duties of the law to ensure national defense, national security, public security, public order or economic security; it is regulated that the provisions of the Law will not apply if processed within the scope of preventive, protective and intelligence activities carried out by authorized public institutions and organizations. ” Decisions on some issues that affect the whole can be stretched and should be stretched. In such a situation where there is a need for a humanitarian statistical information, I think that our personal data should be the last thing to worry about. Of course, it is another humanitarian issue that the authorities should behave in such a way that they do not leave a question mark in our minds and not to try to make use of this crisis situation. See Pandemic Surveillance Certificate

So How Can Block Chains Help To Get Data?

Let’s take a look at the definition once again: “Block chains are digital distributed ledgers that are generally implemented in a distributed manner without a central authority.” Thanks to their distributed structure, transparency, anonymity and encryption, they provide a very convenient recording system for cooperation. At the same time, they are considered as an important tool in creating open data that will speed up the rapid solution production of the shared wisdom.

Blockchain is an effective solution for the second problem I mentioned above, “Access to basic requirements for the continuation of life”, in other words, to avoid interruptions in the supply chain. Margi Van Gogh, Head of the World Economic Forum, Supply Chain and Shipping Industry, says visibility, traceability and interoperability are essential and urgent for supply systems throughout the Covid-19 crisis and even beyond.

The current problem in the supply chain does not come from the insufficiency of workforce. Due to the sudden deterioration of the current balances, there are confusions about where to invest and consequently large imbalances in prices. Throughout the period, there are great increases and decreases in the prices of products in a very short time. I also think that a system that can find the most urgently needed basic goods wherever they are in the world and direct them where they are needed the most is necessary for now and later. Moreover, we now have the tools to achieve this. “To date, it has been difficult to track every system and organization a product touches as it goes through the commercial ecosystem, but it doesn’t have to be that anymore.” says Niall Murphy(World Economic Forum Technology Leader). He points out the blockchains for the solution. 

In a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the Food Industry Asia (FIA), evidence has been put forward that Southeast Asia’s food supply chain was at risk of serious deterioration even before the Covid-19 issue. It is mentioned that the effect of the pandemic causes the existing weaknesses to come to the fore. I think this is another issue that needs to be addressed. Therefore, in my next article, I will focus on the use of blockchains in the food supply chain.

* Thanks to Lawyer Ece Ildır for her legal opinions and Ferhat Tuncay, a Foreign Trade Professional for his shares on the supply chain

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