Virtual Tech Salon on Responsible Data and Data Ethics during COVID-19

I hope everyone’s doing well and staying safe. We wanted to let you know about an event that is coming up. The summary is below.

The COVID-19 pandemic is marching across the globe, and data is a necessary and critical piece of prevention and response efforts. But the numbers are confusing and the creation of models has been difficult, resulting in wildly different projections and challenges in directing the public health response.

Surveys collecting intimate health and other personal data on behaviors and COVID-19 coping mechanisms are popping up on Facebook, WhatsApp and inboxes, sometimes without clear consent protocols and lack of clarity about how data could be shared or used for other purposes.

Contact tracing apps, digital immunity certificates, and symptom self-reporting are proliferating, yet the link between efficacy (will the data solve the problem) and necessity and proportionality of the data is not always clear, nor are the longer-term effects of greater surveillance, especially on historically oppressed individuals and groups.

Even well known privacy advocates have shifted their positions and embraced more invasive uses of data during the pandemic. Others feel we should not lose sight of the potential for harm if human rights and privacy rights are set aside in the name of health surveillance.

Please RSVP Now to join our third Salon in the Tech in the Time of Coronavirus series to discuss the ethical questions surrounding data and how we can get it right before processes get too far along. We’ll kick off with short talks from:

  • Zara Rahman, Deputy Director, The Engine Room
  • Tracey Gyateng, Independent, Responsible Data & Ethics
  • Amanda Makulec, Data Visualization Lead at Excella & Operations Director, Data Visualization Society
  • Reema Patel, Head of Public Engagement, Ada Lovelace Institute
  • Sean McDonald, Co-Founder, Digital Public + CEO of FrontlineSMS

Then we’ll break out into off-the-record discussions to discuss questions like:

  • What are some practical ways for technologists, responding organizations and government actors to be responsible with data collection and use?
  • How can we avoid baking discrimination or harm into our data processes and models?
  • How can we advocate more widely for ethical use of data, while recognizing that good data use is necessary for pandemic response and longer-term recovery?

This virtual Technology Salon will break from our usual in-person format and be a fully virtual event. We’ll start with key thoughts from our lead discussants and then move into a moderated discussion on their and your reactions, thoughts, and inputs.

Even online, space is limited to foster intimate conversations, so please RSVP now and be sure to note the Relevance section in your application to attend! Once we reach our discussion capacity there will be a waiting list!