IGF 2019 WS #267
A tutorial on public policy essentials of data governance


Organizer 1: Duncan McCann, New Economics Foundation
Organizer 2: Jean F. Queralt, The IO Foundation
Organizer 3: Deepti Bharthur, IT for Change
Organizer 4: Nandini Chami, IT for Change and part of Digital Justice project, a collaborative initiative of Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) network and IT for Change

Speaker 1: Nanjira Sambuli, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Duncan McCann, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Jean F. Queralt, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Deepti Bharthur, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Deepti Bharthur, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Duncan McCann, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Nandini Chami, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Other - 90 Min
Format description: The workshop proposes an extended tutorial format for which a classroom type venue is sought.

Policy Question(s)

a) What should be the guiding principles for data governance in the economy of digital intelligence that we inhabit, so that innovation and economic growth is furthered without compromising rights and inclusive development?

b) What are the different paradigms of data governance that countries have adopted? What are the upsides and downsides of each paradigm? What are/will be the implications of these paradigms for countries in the global South, whose digital economies are still nascent?

c) How do choices about data governance made by policymakers impact civic-political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, and the right to development of their citizens?


GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities

Description: This session aims at introducing participants to critical public policy concerns pertaining to the design and implementation of data governance frameworks, when this issue is approached from a rights-and-development standpoint. It will focus on equipping participants build their understanding of the following topics

a) What are the salient, privacy-plus issues concerning data governance?
b) How are individual and group rights in data linked to the realization of civic-political and economic-social-cultural rights and the right to development?
c) What approaches are being explored to address data concentration and the exploitation of digital intelligence by Big Tech monopolies?
d) What policy measures are being implemented and contemplated in creating data infrastructures for social good?
e) How should we define different sets of data (personal, communal, environmental), their limits, their ownership and their associated risks?
f) What techno-design alternatives can be used to build a ‘federated data commons’?
g) How do domestic policy frameworks for data governance connect to trade policy in the new economy?

There are two key standpoints from which data governance regimes are shaped. One is about the issue of privacy and general security, and the other relates to data's social, public and economic value. Of course these perspectives are linked, and they often relate to the same data. This training and capacity building workshop will familiarize workshop participants with the emerging issues in data governance such as, but not limited to:

a) privacy and data protection
c) data portability
d) individual and collective rights over data
e) data ownership
f) data sharing
g) free flows of data
h) data localization
g) data infrastructures
h) data commons

Concepts will be unpacked from a conceptual, legal as well as technical points of view. For instance, data portability is both a social/legal issue and a technical one, so is data sharing and data infrastructures. The proposed tutorial will make an attempt to tackle these nested understandings.

The four facilitators will engage with the issue from their varied backgrounds in research, policy intervention, technical work and advocacy with the workshop participants and take them through the building blocks of data governance regimes. Indicative speaker briefs are included below:

a) Nanjira Sambuli, Web Foundation will unpack the debate on data and innovation and outline the role of policy in the same.

b) Duncan McCann, New Economics Foundation will address the issue of data concentration and possible alternative models to data-driven innovation.

c) Deepti Bharthur, IT for Change will talk about the rise of datafication in the context of governance and public sector systems in the global south and its impact on development outcomes

d) Jean F. Queralt, The IO Foundation will focus on the role of techno-design in shaping data structures and in turn data governance.

The extended tutorial will follow an interactive format. The aim will be to engage participants on their current levels of knowledge followed by short lectures that focus on regional and sectoral perspectives.

While the workshop is open to all and will be based on sign-ups, it will be particularly useful to early career policy professionals, entrepreneurs, students, members of technical community and researchers who will have the opportunity to learn about policy contestations, policy spaces and good practices including from the global South.

Expected Outcomes: The workshop hopes to generate the following outcomes:

a) Informed engagement of early career policy professionals, students, members of technical community, and individuals from the private sector in issues around data governance.

b) Creation of a simple resource tool kit on data governance that can be shared and used as a resource for future training and capacity building.

The workshop will be highly interactive and use quizzes, think-pair and share exercises and small group work through the session time.

Relevance to Theme: The proposed workshop directly engages with the key mandates of the ‘Data Governance theme’ at this year’s IGF including, the development of rights-based data frameworks at global, regional and local scales that simultaneously encourage economic innovation. In particular, it will focus on two of the key illustrative policy themes which include the issue of governing cross-border data flows, and the problem of rising data concentration in the economy. It will weave in critical learnings on these issues by drawing evidence from well-known policy contestations/debates in global, regional and national areas in the global South and also look at good practices

It hopes to serve as a valuable capacity building tool for:
1. early career policy researchers and advocates as well as development and Human Rights activists in the global south who wish to gain a quick insight into a range of data policy issues and debates that are rapidly gaining significance in national and global policy spaces,

2. newer stakeholders who have come into the IGF space, and keen to get a basic grounding in the issues around data.

In doing so, it is hoped that the data governance debates can be enriched through newer and diverse voices. It is also hoped that the workshop can set a precedent for a committed and recurring capacity building track on these issues at the IGF going forward.

Relevance to Internet Governance: The governance of the data economy is a seminal Internet Governance issue of our times. Mainstream debates on the topic are aplenty. However, policy actors and stakeholders coming out of the global south still lack critical knowledge gaps on the matter to effectively absorb and respond to said debates, given the fairly nascent trajectories of this discourse in developing countries. Capacity building that works to close these gaps is crucial in this regard, to not only have more informed perspectives on the issue of data, but also to ensure the continued robustness and multistakeholder nature of Internet Governance processes. In this context, the proposed workshop seeks to make an important intervention through the IGF platform.

Online Participation

Online participants will be able to tune in to the workshop remotely. Our online moderator will facilitate any questions or comments from remote participants.