Policy Briefs

  • Consent continues to be a crucial element of data protection regimes around the world. However, as a tool to promote and protect individuals’ autonomy, it has been diagnosed with numerable weaknesses. While there have been suggestions that it is therefore time to move away from consent altogether, we propose a different approach. Data protection regimes first need to reconceptualise the nature of data, by recognising the need to centre bodies in debates on data governance. Once the entanglement between bodies and data has been acknowledged, data governance regimes can, then, adopt feminist principles of consent that build on insights developed in numerous offline contexts and which allow us to imagine data relations that enable people to actually move closer to the ideal of meaningful consent. This policy brief was first published by the Data Governance Network.   More

    Policy Brief

  • Protecting bodies and rights in disease surveillance during COVID-19 in India — A Policy Brief

    Surveillance is increasing control over bodies of individuals, and the framework of data as a resource is facilitating this control, as illustrated here through the case of COVID-19 in India. Data governance frameworks view data as a disembodied resource, erasing its connections with people’s bodies and making surveillance seem innocuous. A feminist bodies-as-data approach enables embodied harms of surveillance to be pinpointed, and recommendations to be made to alleviate them. Drawing upon research of lived experiences of marginalised communities whose voices are often left out in data protection discourse, this policy brief proposes recommendations preserving not just data privacy, but bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of individuals.   More

    This policy brief was first published by the Data Governance Network.

    Policy Brief

  • Data sovereignty, of whom? Limits and suitability of sovereignty frameworks for data in India — A policy brief

    The concept of sovereignty has come to frame a number of data governance proposals by the Indian government. To understand the scope, import and consequences of these reassertions of sovereignty, it is, however, important to unpack the nature of the claims that have been put forward. In particular, to what extent do these promote the exercise of autonomy and choice by the Indian people? In order to benefit the people of India, assertions of sovereignty in the face of data colonialism will need to take into account that data is not merely a resource out there”, but increasingly functions as an extension of our bodies. As this analysis will show, current conceptualisations of data sovereignty fail to do so; for now, they therefore merely entail a transfer of power to domestic elites while doing little to return sovereignty to the people of India. This policy brief was first published by the Data Governance Network.   More

    Policy Brief