VIDEO: Andrew Young Discusses Responsible Data for Children on American Geographical Society Blue Ribbon on Vulnerable Populations and COVID-19

Mary Ann Badavi
Aug 7 · 2 min read
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Panelists for the Location Tech Task Force’s “Vulnerable Publics: International Perspectives” Blue-Ribbon Panel: (L to R) Mark Bromley, Council for Global Equality; Steve Feldstein, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Mustafa Qadri, Equidem Research and Consulting; Vani Saraswathi,; Andrew Young, GovLab and Responsible Data for Children

The Location Tech Task Force is a project from the American Geographical Society, with support from the Henry Luce Foundation that seeks to understand the ethical implications of location technology used in response to the COVID-19 crisis. As part of this initiative, they have convened a series of Blue-Ribbon Panels featuring technology and data policy experts to discuss risks, benefits, and future considerations in the collection and use of mobile data.

The GovLab’s Knowledge Director Andrew Young recently participated in the Vulnerable Publics: International Perspectives Blue Ribbon Panel. His remarks centered on Responsible Data for Children (RD4C), an initiative created in partnership with UNICEF to advance the safe and ethical handling of data for and about children. Andrew discussed how the 7 RD4C Principles can be applied in the context of COVID-19:

  • Participatory: Engaging and informing individuals and groups affected by the use of data for and about children.
  • Professionally Accountable: Operationalizing responsible data practices and principles by establishing institutional processes, roles, and responsibilities.
  • People-Centric: Ensuring the needs and expectations of children, their caregivers, and their communities are prioritized by actors handling data for and about them.
  • Prevention of Harms across the Data Life Cycle: Establishing end-to-end data responsibility by assessing risks during the collecting, storing, preparing, sharing, analyzing, and using stages of the data life cycle.
  • Proportional: Aligning the breadth of data collection and duration of data retention with the intended purpose.
  • Protective of Children’s Rights: Recognizing the distinct rights and requirements for helping children develop to their full potential.
  • Purpose-Driven: Identifying and specifying why the data is needed and how the intended or potential benefits relate to improving children’s lives.

UNICEF recently used the principles to organize its assessment of child-specific ethical issues around contact tracing during COVID-19.

The Vulnerable Publics: International Perspective Blue Ribbon Panel also featured:

  • Mark Bromley, Chair, Council for Global Equality
  • Steve Feldstein, Incoming Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Mustafa Qadri, Founder and Executive Director, Equidem Research & Consulting
  • Vani Saraswathi, Associate Editor and Director of Projects,

Panelists discussed how contact tracing apps can lead to increased surveillance and overpolicing of marginalized populations, particularly in autocratic governments. They emphasized that establishing strong regulatory frameworks and building public trust were critical in preventing these harms, but that many countries had a long way to go.

You can view the full panel conversation below.

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