Digital Emergency Communication (DIGeMERGE)
About the project
The DIGeMERGE project will carry out research on the use of digital 3.0 (many-to-many) communication during public emergencies in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Digital communication tools under study include COVID-19 tracing apps and other smartphone applications that use location data, mass notifications via text message, and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. These tools are currently used as a part of everyday communication to the public, for cautionary public safety advice, and as a part of emergency response, ranging from search-and-rescue operations to COVID-19 contact tracing. Digital tools offer advantages in terms of scale, reach and speed, while also presenting new challenges to first responders, the general public and emergency planners.
Using a grounded, applied approach, the project will review the use of digital communication tools and platforms in the four countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland), investigate longstanding debates about data protection and privacy as well as emerging concerns in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, examining promises and pitfalls of new technology. Comparing the use of digital tools in the four countries, we will investigate the scope and implications of the ‘appification’ and ‘platformization’ of emergency communication, and challenges of integrating user-generated content into emergency
Led by Åshild Kolås at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), the project includes Stine Bergersen as Co-Investigator from PRIO, partners in Sweden (Linda Paxling, Malmö University), Denmark (Vasileios-Spyridon Vlassis at the IT University of Copenhagen) and Finland (Mourad Oussalah at the Centre for Machine Vision and Signal Analysis, University of Oulu). The project will also set up a stakeholder reference group of emergency management practitioners, designed for co-production of knowledge.