Left Menu
Development News Edition

Could online takeout help prove home ownership?

Devdiscourse News Desk | Tbilisi | Updated: 15-05-2019 23:45 IST | Created: 15-05-2019 23:21 IST
Could online takeout help prove home ownership?
Image Credit: Flickr

By Umberto Bacchi TBILISI, May 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Facebook photos and food delivery data could replace expensive surveys and wills in helping billions of people worldwide prove they own their home, researchers said on Wednesday.

Globally, an estimated 5 billion people lack the proof of ownership needed to access services, get loans, pass on property or reclaim it after being forced out by war or natural disaster. Yet, from social media to ride-hailing services, many tech firms have an accurate idea of their users' main address, based on where they tag photos or regularly get deliveries, according to analysts at New America, a U.S.-based think tank.

"With the proliferation of sensors and data, we are starting to leave data trails," said Yuliya Panfil, director of New America's property rights programme. Government agencies normally only accept documents such as

survey plans or notarised wills as proof of ownership but these are often expensive or hard to get, the group said in a report. But letting people present certified data records downloaded from tech firms - for example Google Maps' GPS history of where a user sleeps - could provide a valid alternative, it said.

"None of these pieces of evidence on their own is very convincing, but the ability to collect them together ... is what makes this tapestry of evidence more convincing," said Panfil. Such a system could be particularly useful in rapidly growing cities and middle-income countries like Colombia or Georgia, where more people have access to smartphones, she said.

Researchers at McGill University in Canada have been testing a similar approach, using social media postings - as well as anecdotal evidence - to help people who flee conflict areas reclaim their property post-war. "You can get around the fact that a title or a deed in many cases was never held by a person that fled, and when it was, often they didn't take it with them," said Jon Unruh, an associate professor at the university's department of geography.

Unruh's team has been conducting research in South Sudan, northern Iraq and Syria, and is aiming to create a platform for refugees to upload evidence of property claims, he said. Yet, a major challenge would be distinguishing occupation from ownership, as long-term renters or squatters could potentially amass enough evidence to make an ownership claim, according to New America.

"This is a question administrative agencies will have to grapple with," the group wrote in the report.



Rethinking Rural Livelihoods in the Times of COVID-19

The reverse migration caused by COVID 19 pandemic has put an additional burden of about one crore people on Indian villages particularly in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal and Odisha. Besides increasing the risk of spreading the ...

‘Discounted Deaths’ and COVID 19: Anthropology of Death and Emotions

Death is a social event rather than the mere cessation of biological functions. As seen by anthropologists, death is not just physical but intensely social, cultural, and political....

Indigenous knowledge of communities a must for maximizing impact of community work

Generally, it has been observed that the majority of the academicians in higher education institutions neglect the wisdom of community people and throw their weight around thinking that they know everything and the community knows nothing. ...

In rebuking FBR, Pakistan’s courts take a stand for public health

The system, if implemented effectively, will allow Pakistans revenue service to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products and potentially add hundreds of millions of dollars to the states budget each year. ...


Latest News

RAI welcomes govt decision to allow malls, shopping centres to resume operations from Jun 8

Retailers Association of India RAI on Saturday welcomed the governments order to allow opening of malls and shopping centres from June 8, saying it is important for retailers to open up to get the economy moving forward. RAI CEO Kumar Rajgo...

Sudan summons Ethiopian envoy over suspected cross-border attack

Sudan summoned the Ethiopian Charg dAffaires on Saturday over a border attack by suspected Ethiopian militias that killed and wounded several Sudanese army personnel and civilians, it said in a statement. Thursdays attack targeted a camp in...

BCCI nominates Rohit Sharma for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma, and Deepti Sharma for Arjuna Award

The Board of Control for Cricket in India BCCI on Saturday nominated Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020. The apex body of cricket in India also nominated Indian cricketers Ishant Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan ...

Trump, NC governor speak about GOP convention details

President Donald Trump and North Carolinas governor disagreed on Friday over the viability of a full-fledged Republican National Convention, the governors office said, as Trump does not want to see signs of the pandemic in his renomination ...

Give Feedback