Data in international development: how even the best of intentions can pave the road to surveillance

Politics & Society
Dienstag, 6. Mai 2014 -
13:45 bis 14:45
stage 3


The use of technology in development and humanitarian work is seen as the solution to many of the world's most pressing issues around poverty reduction, allowing international organisations to deliver services efficiently where they are most needed. But increasingly, development projects in the "Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) space may involve the indiscriminate collection of data, which can have all sorts of unintended consequences.


Data is used in international development for all sorts of purposes; to ensure better delivery of aid, to promote transparency and accountability, to ensure that funds are distributed and used in the most effective way possible, with the ultimate aim of alleviating poverty around the world. It's undeniable that the use of this technology has had significant successes; but with data driving development more than ever, to what extent are the privacy rights of vulnerable communities being respected, or even considered? 

We'll look at why data is being collected and the current state of privacy rights within development projects, including case studies from Jordan, looking at recent social media activities in Cuba, as well as from the crisis mapping community. We'll consider various actors within the development and humanitarian space; those who are acting with the best interests of their target communities in mind, and those who are prioritising their own interests above those of the communities they are involving. 

Ultimately - what are the ways in which data can be used responsibly in the development sphere? Bringing together recommendations and discourse from the open development + privacy community, we'll consider how the two communities can work together to ensure protection of the human rights of the world's most vulnerable communities. 



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