Trust and Errors in Data

by | Mar 9, 2020 | ICT4D |

We have a land titles with maps from the land registry indicating we own the land we purchased. Turns out, the railway company also believes it owns part of the same land due to its documentation. So which documents are correct? Which ones can be trusted?

Data is about trust. But trust on multiple levels. Do you trust the issuer (e.g. Land Registry)? Do you trust the document/data (the credential) is a true copy of what the issuer issued? (Is the land title we have actually issued by the Land Registry or is it a fake?) Do you trust the person showing you the document?

The weird thing is that you don’t need to trust the person showing you the data, but you do need to trust the issuer and that the credential is not fake.

We don’t think much about whether or not we trust the documentation or the issuer until it goes wrong. And when it goes wrong, it is a mess. And often we think it goes wrong because it is a fake or some sort of fraudulent activity has happened. However, sometimes it is human error. A typo resulting in a misspelling of your name or address. Or in our case a historical error that is unclear what happened or which documents are correct.

Data is one thing. Trust is another. And errors happen. Even when you think you can trust the issuing body having a dispute resolution plan is always wise. This is true for humanitarian agencies dealing with some of the world’s most vulnerable people and it is true for land issues in the UK.

Oh and please ensure the dispute resolution process is only affordable for the rich in the community. It should be free & unbiased, vulnerable people have enough on their plate.

Photo by sasha set


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