Policy Briefs

  • Strengthening the account aggregator ecosystem: A feminist perspective — A policy brief

    In earlier research, Kovacs and I (2020) identified six feminist principles to strengthen consent in data governance. An examination of the account aggregator (AA) ecosystem against these principles makes clear that the AA framework is a positive step towards addressing some of the key concerns regarding current consent regimes, for example where auditability and granularity are concerned. However, to fully meet the minimum requirements necessary to ensure meaningful consent, further modifications will be needed. In particular, it appears that the focus of the ecosystem currently is on ensuring that AAs are robust, but that it fails to address challenges relating to other stakeholders in the ecosystem.   More

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  • Safeguarding patient rights within a digital ecosystem through a feminist framework — A policy brief

    Cover Policy Brief Safeguarding Patient Rights

    Data protection policy frameworks in India, such as the National Digital Health Mission ecosystem, are incentivising the datafication of health by considering health data to be a commodity. However, in the age of big data, when health data is viewed as a disembodied resource, access to people’s health data becomes a form of power, giving those with such access the unparalleled and unprecedented power to influence the governance of people’s bodies and lives. This policy brief recognises the interconnections between our bodies and data from within a feminist framework, and through this alternative framework, proposes recommendations to safeguard patient rights from threats arising from the datafication of health. This policy brief was first published by the Data Governance Network.   More

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    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

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

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  • 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

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  • The WCIT and the ITRs: An FAQ

    From 3 to 14 December 2012, the governments of the world will meet in Dubai, at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), to review the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs). Why should this be of concern to Internet activists? This briefing paper, authored by Rishab Bailey, answers the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) on why the ITU and the ITRs matter to the future of the Internet, and what the significance of current developments at the ITU could be for the Internet in a developing country like India.    More

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