IGF 2020 WS #228 What governance framework for data altruism?

Thematic Track

Organizer 1: Alexandre Roure, Computer & Communication Industry Associations (CCIA)

Speaker 1: Alves Facebook, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Jens-Henrik Jeppesen, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Alexandre Roure, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Alexandre Roure, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Victoria de Posson, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Alexandre Roure, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Panel - Auditorium - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1) Governance dimensions for data-driven technologies Topics: open data, data ownership and control, privacy and data protection, intellectual property, access to public sector data, transparency, and accountability. Questions: (a) What is "data altruism", what form(s) does it take, and which are the relevant policy fields to consider? (e.g. health, environment, safety, etc) (b) What are the data and digital policy implications of data altruism? (c) Can we draw some perspective from other fields to encourage altruist behaviors regarding one's data? e.g. analogies with organ donations, and lessons learnt. (d) Where data altruism applies, how do we reconcile greater open data policies needed on the data supply side with the data privacy, security, integrity and (some would argue) "sovereignty" that the data demand/use side must consider? (c) What transparency and accountability framework should apply when developing/using solutions in the context of data altruism?

Data altruism, whether it relates to government, company, or individuals’ data, can be a force for good, from advancing humanitarian and human rights causes to addressing environmental and safety issues around the world. The global Covid-19 crisis has put the issue of data altruism at the forefront of the policy discussions around the globe. Most of these discussions have focused on two questions: (1) what are the conditions for data collection and use for the good of the society? and (2) how do we measure the effectiveness of data-led projects on the ground? We have seen vastly different responses and approaches around the world on these two questions. The purpose of this panel is to explore common considerations and approaches based on speakers’ policy and operational expertise. The panel discussion and Q&A will address best practices on: the availability and limitations of individuals, governments and company data, privacy-risk mitigation measures, mechanisms to foster data altruism (‘donation’) depending on the purposes of the solution e.g. opt-in vs opt-out, transparency protocols to maintain trust and guaranteeing security, and the accountability framework.


GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being
GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 12: Responsible Production and Consumption
GOAL 13: Climate Action


During this session, the speakers will offer their thoughts on possible governance model(s) to encourage data altruism for the common good. Through use-cases and expert opinions, we will investigate the concept of ‘data altruism’, for which purposes data altruism may be useful, who should be ‘donating’ data, the variety of data required and the data policy implications they raise, and the mechanics required to ‘donate’ data in a privacy-preserving way (opt-in/opt-out, pseudonymization, anonymization). The main governance themes we expect to address include open data, data ownership and control, privacy and data protection, intellectual property, public sector data, transparency, and accountability. Agenda [30 minutes] Welcome and introduction from the moderator, and introductory remarks from speakers (6 min per speaker) - Facebook Representative: ‘Data for Good’ Program - DataKind Representative: Presentation of on-going projects and changes - Polish government Representative: Data-driven response to COVID - CDT representative: Balancing the interests, challenges and opportunities that data altruism raise - EDPS representative: EU’s response to COVID-apps [30 minutes] Speakers’ exchange on open governance principles for data altruism, focusing on: (1) Input / data: whose data, aggregate vs granular, anonymized vs identifiable, further processing of existing data vs new data (2) Output / algorithms: transparency vs data security/integrity, privacy preserving measures, accountability of the data holder [30 minutes] Q&A open to on-site and online audience (through online moderator)

Expected Outcomes

This session will feed into CCIA’s and its Members' on-going and future awareness and advocacy campaign on common data altruism best practices. We will do so with like-minded groups and vis-à-vis governments and international organizations (OECD, EU, G20, etc.)

Short five minutes presentations made by the speakers will open the discussions and encourage contributions. 80 % of the time of the workshop will be allocated to open discussions. On-site and online participants will be encouraged to present their views and possible solutions during the 30 minutes Q&A.

Relevance to Internet Governance: The session on data altruism would address a subset of a broader global conversation around data (personal and non-personal) governance, and focuses on growing practices where companies and governments use the digital solutions for the benefits of human welfare and contribute to many of the SDG goals (see list below).

Relevance to Theme: The governance of data altruism is a subset of a broader conversation around data (personal and non-personal) governance.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: We intend to promote this IGF panel via our Twitter and LinkedIn page, and inform relevant media (with link to the live stream).