Data for development: The new conflict resource?

Privacy International will soon be launching a research and advocacy project entitled Aiding Surveillance that will focus on the role of international development, humanitarian and funding organisations in promoting privacy and data protection.

In the latest incarnation of the development world’s dominant paradigm, ICTs for Development, data is being embraced, analysed and monitored by companies, humanitarian organisations, aid donors and governments alike. Yet despite the promises of data evangelists that big and open data can revolutionise innovation, education, health care and infrastructure, the potential risks of data – exclusion, discrimination, identification, persecution, and violations of the right to privacy – bear serious consideration. Without critical analysis and legal oversight, data could become the new conflict resource, causing and sustaining human rights violations.