The technology firms are using the pandemic of COVID-19 to expand their reach, change their business strategies and capture new public functions and market positions around the world. We aim to relate the long-running investments in computer infrastructures with recent developments in business strategies to understand the implications of the rapid expansion of technology firms globally.
Our current model for data governance represents the interests of the largest players in the technology sector and the states in whose economies they are embedded. Data is primarily conceptualised as an asset and citizens as data suppliers. We promote a data governance model that represents a plurality of perspectives and positively contributes to people’s autonomy, participation and accountability.
In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, the global technology sector, equipped with unprecedented wealth and power, mobilised to seize the opportunity. We have initiated a new series of essays focused on regional and country issues following the development of the data and technology in response to the pandemic.
Professor of International Data Governance at the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT)
Assistant Professor of International and European Law at Maastricht University and Postdoctoral Researcher at TILT
Siddharth is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Global Data Justice project and is interested in the role data plays at the intersection of law and development
Shaz is a social science researcher specializing in digital governance and smart urbanism, and a PhD Researcher on the Global Data Justice project.
Joan is a Research and policy officer on the Global Data Justice project.
Hellen is a PhD Researcher on the Global Data Justice project.
Places and populations that were previously digitally invisible are now part of a ‘data revolution’ that is being hailed as a transformative tool for human and economic development. Yet this unprecedented expansion of the power to digitally monitor, sort, and intervene is not well connected to the idea of social justice, nor is there a clear concept of how broader access to the benefits of data technologies can be achieved without amplifying misrepresentation, discrimination, and power asymmetries.
We therefore need a new framework for data justice integrating data privacy, non-discrimination, and non-use of data technologies into the same framework as positive freedoms such as representation and access to data. This project will research the lived experience of data technologies in high- and low-income countries worldwide, seeking to understand people’s basic needs with regard to these technologies. We will also seek the perspectives of civil society organisations, technology companies, and policymakers.