Big Data for Development: Privacy Risks and Opportunities?

12 November 2015 - A Workshop on Other in João Pessoa, Brazil


In recent years, the potential of big data derived from the Internet and other digital devices to transform targeted advertising, recommender systems, location based services, logistics and other activities in the private sector has come to fruition. Increasingly, parallel applications in development work have emerged, proving the utility of big data for monitoring and measuring social phenomenon including disease outbreaks, food security, or migration. However, the opportunities presented by big data simultaneously raise serious concerns about privacy, especially when it comes to use of personal data. To realize the benefits of “Big Data for Development” it is important to find solutions for how to protect fundamental rights and values, including the right to privacy as recognized by the UDHR and ICCPR. The recent UN Resolutions and June 2013 report of the UN HCHR stressed the importance of considering the risks that uncontrolled use of personal information poses to human rights.

Therefore, this panel will engage multi-sector stakeholders in a dialogue on critical topics related to data protection and privacy to strengthen the overall understanding of how privacy protected analysis of big data along with the assessment of risks and benefits can contribute to sustainable development and humanitarian action. The panelists will offer strategies on how to reduce risks of Human Rights violations in the context of big data for development and also suggest solutions that can be implemented into existing risk mitigation frameworks. This panel will be highly interactive, encouraging active audience participation through preliminary and real-time Q&A sessions.

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