IGF 2020 WS #128 Global crises and socially responsible data responses

Time
Monday, 9th November, 2020 (11:00 UTC) - Monday, 9th November, 2020 (12:00 UTC)
Room
Room 1
About this Session
This workshop will address how collaboration through responsible data-sharing could provide organizations (both public and private) around the world with access to the variety, quantity and quality of data to enable further progress in research, new products and services, as well as policy development.
Thematic Track

Organizer 1: Angèle Beauvois, International Chamber of Commerce
Organizer 2: Gonzalo Lopez-Barajas, Telefonica, S.A.
Organizer 3: Ross Creelman, European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO)
Organizer 4: Rilla Gusela, Netmission.asia
Organizer 5: Mila Romanoff, United Nations

Speaker 1: Nnenna Nwakanma, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Rudolf GRIDL, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Carolyn Nguyen, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Christoph Steck, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Moderator

Mila Romanoff, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization

Online Moderator

Rilla Gusela, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group

Rapporteur

Gonzalo Lopez-Barajas, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Format

Break-out Group Discussions - Flexible Seating - 90 Min

Online duration reset to 60 minutes.
Policy Question(s)

How can all stakeholders best cooperate to put data to work for the benefit of all?

What are the risks and challenges involved?

What barriers are holding stakeholders back from engaging in such initiatives?

What policy and technical tools are needed to enable such cooperation?

How has the current crisis accelerated the need for coherent international frameworks for responsible data sharing?

How can the temporary solutions that have been put in place to address the challenges that responsible data sharing is facing nowadays be scaled up to be sustainable in the longer term?

Access to relevant information extracted from data can help governments, public service institutions and companies predict, prevent and mitigate major crises, be that health, humanitarian or environmental. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous data sharing initiatives were launched, both to pool and share data at the disposal of various stakeholders to help mitigate the crisis. These initiatives have also brought to the forefront considerations on data protection and security as well as privacy and human rights concerns regarding the use of personal data. The rapid spread of the current crisis around the globe reminded us of the dire need for global cooperation in face of a common threat. This workshops aims to assess the opportunities offered by models of data sharing for the mitigation of global crisis situations, while also considering the policy challenges of doing so, by exploring questions below:

SDGs

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being
GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 13: Climate Action
GOAL 14: Life below Water
GOAL 15: Life on Land
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals

The current crisis caused by the rapid spread of COVID-19 raised important questions on the role of data in global crisis situations. With many governments around the world caught unprepared, healthcare professionals unsure of treatments or a possible cure, and analysts left wondering how to best track, trace and predict the spread of the virus or what precautionary measures to recommend, we are all reminded of the value of data. 

Data not only serves as information, but also allows experts to perform analyses and create predictive models that help authorities make decisions. Thanks to predictive models, companies can adapt, public service institutions can make arrangements, and governments can spring into action to take measures commensurate with the severity of the given situation. 

In the face of the current crisis collaboration through responsible data sharing, could provide organizations (both public and private) around the world with access to the variety, quantity and quality of data to enable further progress in all areas, including research, new products and services innovation, as well as policy development. 

During the session, invited speakers, from across stakeholder groups and geographies, will share perspectives on what opportunities and challenges they see in sharing data for managing a global crisis. They will focus on impact specific to their sector, group or region to bring in various policy positions and expand the considerations of fellow panelists and audience members, and strive to formulate balanced policy responses, based on these learnings. 

The aim of this session is to uncover how data sharing can provide relevant tools for prevention and management of such global crises. Discussions will consider how stakeholders can cooperate to put data to work for the benefit of all, what are the risks involved, what barriers are holding stakeholders back from engaging in such initiatives and  what policy and technical tools are needed to enable sharing data responsibly and selectively with others.

The session will also consider how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated already existing policy challenges data sharing had been facing. Speakers will unpack whether the current crisis  accelerated the need for coherent international frameworks for responsible data sharing and how the temporary solutions that have been put in place to address the challenges that responsible data sharing is facing nowadays can be scaled up to be sustainable in the longer term?

Expected Outcomes

The workshop will provide participants with an improved understanding of both the technical and policy elements necessary to support responsible data sharing to provide tools in predicting, preventing and finding appropriate responses to mitigate global crises. The summary of the workshop will feature a list of case studies mentioned by speakers and participants and will provide a menu of good practices for policy approaches. Lastly, the workshop will aim to highlight areas for future action and potential questions to be explored in future IGF sessions.

Participants will be encouraged during the discussions to share perspectives and questions to speakers. Following the discussion, participants will be encouraged to share their key takeaways from the session through online tools and social media. This will help ensure diverse perspectives raised during the discussion are included in the reporting.

Relevance to Internet Governance: When talking about the Internet, either in the context of its benefits, challenges or overall governance, a conversation about data cannot be avoided. Data sits in the front and centre of economic opportunities, technological innovation, social progress and sustainable development. It is, at the same time the main component of the more contentious issues like security, privacy, or localization. Getting the policy right around multistakeholder collaborations for data sharing in crisis situations is essential to safeguard the open, free and interoperable Internet, and uphold its safe, secure, sound and resilient architecture. Considerations around data governance should be built starting from commonly shared global values and principles, developed in collaboration with all stakeholders. This workshop will look at what policy elements are necessary to encourage data sharing as a trusted channel for collective action and societal benefit. It will also aim to identify and provide options for policy response to the main challenges posed.

Relevance to Theme: The workshop directly addresses one of the main themes of IGF 2020: data. It aims to bring IGF participants closer to identifying policy best practices around enabling data sharing and consider what policy elements are needed to ensure such initiatives are secure, respect human rights and are in the service of equality and inclusion. The workshop will uncover how data sharing can help mitigate global crisis situations. What are the data protection and privacy considerations that must be kept in mind?

Online Participation

Usage of IGF Official Tool.

1. Key Policy Questions and related issues
How has the current crisis accelerated the need for coherent international frameworks for responsible data sharing?
How can all stakeholders best cooperate to put data to work for the benefit of all? What are the risks, challenges and barriers involved?
What policy and technical tools are needed to enable such cooperation?
2. Summary of Issues Discussed

At the beginning of the workshop, attendees were invited to take part in a poll seeking answers to two questions: how willing they are to share their data and what barriers prevent them from doing so. 63% of respondents indicated they are somewhat willing to share data, if there are special circumstances (such as the COVID-19 crisis). 92 % noted trust and security concerns as barriers to datasharing. The issue of trust was thus at the heart of the discussion.

During the session speakers shared various examples to illustrate the benefits of data sharing and underline the importance of trust. Many noted COVID-19 tracing apps as most visible examples, but highlighted also use cases such as:

  • the Johns Hopkins University interactive dashboards on the spread of the virus that inform policy decisions and decisions on provisioning critical medical resources;
  • sharing insights on mobility patterns to inform social distancing measures;
  • collaborations to share data and AI tools for medical researchers; projects to provide accurate information to the public;
  • extracting insights from personal datasets while protecting privacy ;

and many more.

Speakers agreed that trust is the main enabler of data sharing. At the same time, they noted that there is a lack of understanding when it comes to what data is being shared and how. Panelists suggested that efforts should be taken to improve data literacy and foster a culture of data sharing in organizations.

Panelists highlighted the role of collaboration between different stakeholders involved in data sharing. Examples of cooperation between governments, business and civil society illustrated that the multistakeholder approach is effective, especially in the face of crisis.

Speakers also underlined the need for strengthened international collaboration to ensure cross-border data free flow with trust, as introduced by the G20 Japan Osaka Track in 2019.

3. Key Takeaways

Responsible data sharing can provide numerous benefits to all stakeholders, especially in times of crisis. In this respect, lessons from private sector may serve as a proof. Examples provided by participants during the session showed that data sharing allows to speed up research, inform policy decisions (such as when is it safe to reopen schools) and help mobilize resources in face of a crisis. Data sharing, however, should take place in a responsible and trusted manner. In this respect, speakers suggested, efforts need to be taken to raise awareness about both technical and policy aspects of data sharing, for example where a company shares data or  insights from the data.

The need to adopt a multi-stakeholder approach when it comes to data sharing was also underlined during the session. Speakers noted how public-private partnerships help mobilize vaster resources and how insights, knowledge and support from businesses, technical organizations and civil society groups help governments in providing better services to respond to the need of their citizens.

The discussion also touched upon the issue of gender divide. In this respect  panelists noted how the current crisis has shed harsh light on the inequalities in access to digital technologies and the benefits they provide. They noted that bridging the digital gender divide is fundamental to build  trust.