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...How to increase access to banks and loans? How and where to improve air quality? How to design better public transport? These intractable public problems have been troubling policymakers and city leaders for decades, but a new ally is emerging: telecom data. Every time you make a call, send an SMS or check your social media on the go, you generate data. This data can be anonymized, aggregated and used to reveal the movements of populations and economic and psychological profiles—all without putting individual privacy at risk. By merging telecom data with other relevant data—such as the number of new cases of a disease—and using visualization tools, governments and development organizations can make better-informed public-policy decisions. New projects, across Uganda, Zambia, Brazil, Haiti and many other countries, are using this method of data analysis. Malaria kills around half a million people every year worldwide. ...Live Mint on Dec. 4, 2017, 12:42 a.m.