IGF 2020 WS #221 Striking the right(s) balance


Organizer 1: Civil Society, Intergovernmental Organization
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Organizer 3: Civil Society, Intergovernmental Organization

Speaker 1: Florencia Serale, Intergovernmental Organization, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 2: Veronica Ferrari, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Teemu Ropponen, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Break-out Group Discussions - Flexible Seating - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

What are the safeguards we need to put around open data to ensure it accounts for other concerns (such as privacy, security and AI)? What does transparency and accountability mean for different data communities? What are good criteria to help define what data should be made open, what can be carefully shared, and what should be closed?

Access to and control over data both reflects and determines how power is distributed in society. It can be used for good or ill - and those with least power tend to be most vulnerable to abuse. Opening up some types of data can deliver huge benefits to society. It helps make governments more efficient and accountable, stimulate development, and tackle critical problems like climate change and corruption. Equally, releasing some types of data without accounting for potential risks can do great harm. It can put lives or national security at risk, prevent markets from functioning properly, allow companies to abuse our personal data for profit, or cause unacceptable intrusion into our private lives. The Open Data Charter believes firmly in the transformative power of greater transparency and accountability openness when balanced with the need to protect other data rights. Some types of data should be open by default, and others closed by default - and there should be clear exemptions to both rules.


GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals


Fighting for greater transparency and protecting privacy are two sides of the same coin - both principles seek to prevent corruption, promote freedom of expression, strengthen democracy and construct solid democratic institutions that have the interests of their citizens at heart. However, often the various camps advocating for these important rights use different approaches. Currently, data rights-based legal frameworks are contradictory in principle -- while many Rights to Information (RTI) laws are moving towards promoting open data and transparency by default, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union introduces specific privacy by default and by design obligation. The Open Data Charter wants to work with partners in this field to articulate and lobby for reforms that reflect and protect a balance of data rights. The first step is to establish a set of criteria for what data should be open by default, and when. We would like to bring this discussion to the IGF community as the open data community hasn't done a good job so far in connecting and collaborating with data privacy and data ethics community. We propose a dynamic session where the room is separated into smaller groups to discuss key questions that the mail moderator will pose on the participants. Each team will have to answer questions putting themselves in the shoes of data privacy and of open data organizations navigating through a series of calls to action on certain policies that ODC has been able to compile.

Expected Outcomes

We expect to have a prioritization on possible policies to address the conversation and trade-off between the right to access information and freedom of speech and the right to data privacy. Out of that we expect to draft a document understanding which policies and discussions need more research and collaboration to try to develop a concept note to follow up this session.

We want to make this a very interactive session where we begin with short presentations from the speakers and then we separate the participants into smaller groups to discuss a set of questions posed by the presenters. The idea is that each group can play the role of a certain interest group and answer the questions taking into account that perspective (private sector, data privacy advocates, open data advocates, multilateral organizations, governments, etc) The questions will revolve around practical cases and the idea is to find the common ground among the different stakeholders or to understand each other's positions and perspectives in order to create connections that foster better collaboration and conversations after IGF has passed. We could create a group with participants that are connected remotely and have then take the role of a specific stakeholder.

Relevance to Internet Governance: This session will address an important discussion that has to do with the link between internet governance and its impact in the rights discussion beyond it. Freedom of speech, access to information, open data and data privacy play a major role in the data governance discussion where internet governance is one of the key arenas to address. Digital data rights is important as two important human rights, RIght to privacy and the right to access information are now impacted on how data flows in the digital world, mostly on the internet.

Relevance to Theme: It has never been more important to protect and promote the responsible access and use of data. Used effectively, openly available data make governments more efficient and transparent and empowers citizens to hold them to account. Yet data’s role in shaping our society and economies has rightly come under the scrutiny of late. As this global pandemic has shown, there is an urgent need for data about COVID-19 - whether it’s to track the spread of the disease, identify the availability of supplies, or monitor fast-tracked emergency procurement. Governments are struggling to share consistent, up to date information, while others are doing so in highly controversial ways. The use and generation of data by artificial intelligence systems that deliver bias results have created further suspicion and unease.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: We could create a group with participants that are connected remotely and have then take the role of a specific stakeholder. We could use any online platform like Skype, Webex, Zoom, Gotomeeting.