Posted in accountability, development, governance, ICTs, mobile and technology, mobile, mobile and technology, open data, open development, open government, participation, politics, technology, transparency, tagged accountablity, data, development, governance, IDS Bulletin, open, opening governance, technology, transparency on January 26, 2016 |
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Photo: Duncan Edwards, IDS.
A 2010 review of impact and effectiveness of transparency and accountability initiatives, conducted by Rosie McGee and John Gaventa of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), found a prevalence of untested assumptions and weak theories of change in projects, programs and strategies. This week IDS is publishing their latest Bulletin titled “Opening Governance,” which offers a compilation of evidence and contributions focusing specifically on Technology in Transparency and Accountability (Tech for T&A).
It has a good range of articles that delve into critical issues in the Tech for T&A and Open Government spaces; help to clarify concepts and design; explore gender inequity as related to information access; and unpack the ‘dark side’ of digital politics, algorithms and consent.
In the opening article, editors Duncan Edwards and Rosie McGee (both currently working with the IDS team that leads the Making All Voices Count Research, Learning and Evidence component) give a superb in-depth review of the history of Tech for T&A and outline some of the challenges that have stemmed from ambiguous or missing conceptual frameworks and a proliferation of “buzzwords and fuzzwords.”
They unpack the history of and links between concepts of “openness,” “open development,” “open government,” “open data,” “feedback loops,” “transparency,” “accountability,” and “ICT4D (ICT for Development)” and provide some examples of papers and evidence that could help to recalibrate expectations among scholars and practitioners (and amongst donors, governments and policy-making bodies, one hopes).
The editors note that conceptual ambiguity continues to plague the field of Tech for T&A, causing technical problems because it hinders attempts to demonstrate impact; and creating political problems “because it clouds the political and ideological differences between projects as different as open data and open governance.”
The authors hope to stoke debate and promote the existing evidence in order to tone down the buzz. Likewise, they aim to provide greater clarity to the Tech for T&A field by offering concrete conclusions stemming from the evidence that they have reviewed and digested.
Download the Opening Governance report here.
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Posted in data, development, gender, governance, open data, open development, open knowledge, participation, politics, random, musing or confusing, Re:Hum, smart aid, wait... what?, tagged #mansplain, #mansplaining, development, devsplain, devsplaining, politics, power, respect, tokenism on July 22, 2014 |
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I spent last week in Berlin at the Open Knowledge Festival – a great place to talk ‘open’ everything and catch up on what is happening in this burgeoning area that crosses through the fields of data, science, education, art, transparency and accountability, governance, development, technology and more.
One session was on Power, politics, inclusion and voice, and it encouraged participants to dig deeper into those 4 aspects of open data and open knowledge. The organizers kicked things off by asking us to get into small groups and talk about power. Our group was assigned the topic of “feeling powerless” and we shared personal experiences of when we had felt powerless. There were several women in my group, many of whom, unsurprisingly, recounted experiences that felt gendered.
The concept of ‘mansplaining‘ came up. Mansplaining (according to Wikipedia) is a term that describes when a man speaks to a woman with the assumption that she knows less than he does about the topic being discussed because she is female. ‘Mansplaining is different from other forms of condescension because mansplaining is rooted in the assumption that, in general, a man is likely to be more knowledgeable than a woman.’
From there, we got into the tokenism we’d seen in development programs that say they want ‘participation’ but really don’t care to include the viewpoints of the participants. One member of our group talked about the feelings of powerlessness development workers create when they are dismissive of indigenous knowledge and assume they know more than the poor in general. “Like when they go out and explain climate change to people who have been farming their entire lives,” she said.
A lightbulb went off. It’s the same attitude as ‘mansplaining,’ but seen in development workers. It’s #devsplaining.
So I made a hashtag (of course) and tried to come up with a definition.
Devsplaining – when a development worker, academic, or someone who generally has more power within the ‘development industry’ speaks condescendingly to someone with less power. The devsplainer assumes that he/she knows more and has more right to an opinion because of his/her position and power within the industry. Devsplaining is rooted in the assumption that, in general, development workers are likely to be more knowledgeable about the lives and situations of the people who participate in their programs/research than the people themselves are.
What do people think? Any good examples?
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Posted in accountability, activism, big data, data, development, ICTs, mobile and technology, open data, privacy, protection, tagged data, development, forum, may 22, NYC, responsible data on May 8, 2014 |
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Debate and thinking around data, ethics, ICT have been growing and expanding a lot lately, which makes me very happy!
Coming up on May 22 in NYC, the engine room, Hivos, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and Kurante (my newish gig) are organizing the latest in a series of events as part of the Responsible Data Forum.
The event will be hosted at ThoughtWorks and it is in-person only. Space is limited, so if you’d like to join us, let us know soon by filling in this form.
What’s it all about?
This particular Responsible Data Forum event is an effort to map the ethical, legal, privacy and security challenges surrounding the increased use and sharing of data in development programming. The Forum will aim to explore the ways in which these challenges are experienced in project design and implementation, as well as when project data is shared or published in an effort to strengthen accountability. The event will be a collaborative effort to begin developing concrete tools and strategies to address these challenges, which can be further tested and refined with end users at events in Amsterdam and Budapest.
We will explore the responsible data challenges faced by development practitioners in program design and implementation.
Some of the use cases we’ll consider include:
- projects collecting data from marginalized populations, aspiring to respect a do no harm principle, but also to identify opportunities for informational empowerment
- project design staff seeking to understand and manage the lifespan of project data from collection, through maintenance, utilization, and sharing or destruction.
- project staff that are considering data sharing or joint data collection with government agencies or corporate actors
- project staff who want to better understand how ICT4D will impact communities
- projects exploring the potential of popular ICT-related mechanisms, such as hackathons, incubation labs or innovation hubs
- projects wishing to use development data for research purposes, and crafting responsible ways to use personally identifiable data for academic purposes
- projects working with children under the age of 18, struggling to balance the need for data to improve programming approaches, and demand higher levels of protection for children
By gathering a significant number of development practitioners grappling with these issues, the Forum aims to pose practical and critical questions to the use of data and ICTs in development programming. Through collaborative sessions and group work, the Forum will identify common pressing issues for which there might be practical and feasible solutions. The Forum will focus on prototyping specific tools and strategies to respond to these challenges.
What will be accomplished?
Some outputs from the event may include:
- Tools and checklists for managing responsible data challenges for specific project modalities, such as sms surveys, constructing national databases, or social media scraping and engagement.
- Best practices and ethical controls for data sharing agreements with governments, corporate actors, academia or civil society
- Strategies for responsible program development
- Guidelines for data-driven projects dealing with communities with limited representation or access to information
- Heuristics and frameworks for understanding anonymity and re-identification of large development data sets
- Potential policy interventions to create greater awareness and possibly consider minimum standards
Hope to see some of you on the 22nd! Sign up here if you’re interested in attending, and read more about the Responsible Data Forum here.
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