One of the biggest barriers to development in poorer countries has been a lack of good data to inform decisions about everything from the economy to planning and healthcare. The spread of information technology could be a major asset in solving such problems. But having lots of data is not the same as being able to use it. For example, the UN criticised the response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake for not being able to translate huge amounts of date into effective action. Has our fascination with data become a displacement activity for the ambitious development required to tackle poverty? Will the poorest countries with little IT infrastructure get left behind?