Digital Equity for Marginalised and Displaced Peoples


Last month I attended the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Annual Meeting, held in Melbourne and the first time on southern hemisphere. Program – a mix of meetings, papers, panels and workshops.

This was a very interesting panel (although beset by some technical issues- the PPT slides weren’t available for the first half of the session) – and one I want to keep tabs on.

Panel: Digital Equity for Marginalised and Displaced Peoples
Rolan, Gregory (Monash University, Australia); Carbone, Kathy (University of California, Los Angeles, USA); Reed, Barbara (Recordkeeping Innovation, Australia); McKemmish, Sue (Monash University, Australia)

My notes:

  • what happens to the data of marginalised and displaced people, refugees?
  • how can individuals have ‘data sovereignty’ – control and ownership over one’s data. Not just access to the data but control and decision making rights. Data that supports self determination
  • ‘documentation is central to and threaded through every facet of the life of a refugee’
  • access to trusted records is essential – to establish identity, familial relationships, ethnicity, nationality, status and health rights, to document persecution, to obtain benefits, to be able to practice a trade or profession, to ensure resettlement, integration or return, to reclaim property, for generational claims to citizenship and family and community memory
  • millions of displaced people around the world, they may have mobile phones, but do they have the data they need?
  • stateless, separated – often women and children.
  • a trans disciplinary international project that first met in July 2019 – a meeting of recordkeeping people- to look at the ‘wicked’ problems – those without simple solutions. thinking of fictional scenarios.
  • one project in Australia looking at the records of children in child protection system – records are often inaccurate, incomplete, insulting and incomprehensible, see ARC project Rights in records by design
  • Refugee Rights in Records (R3) Initiative – ‘goal is to identify how humanitarian centred recordkeeping interventions in the arenas of recordkeeping systems and practices, technologies, law and policy might assist refugees and their descendants across time and geographies’. Working on a Framework for Refugee Rights in Records – 25 rights grouped under nine rubrics. One of the rubrics is “rights to know” – ‘people have the right to know why a record about oneself is being created, what it will contain, what it may be used for, and how it will be secured before one agrees to participate in that records’s creation; the right to know that a record about oneself exits, where and why; and the right to know who can see one’s record’
  • Q: how best to consult with and engage with refugees, asylum seekers, displaced persons – in all of these processes?

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