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New Publication

An Introduction to the Responsible Data for Children Principles

A new series exploring applications of the Responsible Data for Children principles

Posted on 22nd of June 2023 by Andrew Zahuranec

Across contexts and regions, the children’s data ecosystem is complex and constantly shifting. New data systems, stakeholders, opportunities, and risks arise regularly. Actors who seek to ensure responsible data for children in their context are often forced to make decisions without a detailed understanding of the current situation. There is an urgent need for guidance on ways stakeholders can use data to meaningfully improve lives without causing or exacerbating harms.

The Responsible Data for Children framework can generate substantial value for those seeking to use data to improve children’s lives. With its principled but flexible approach, it provides a framework that organizations can adapt to fit their specific needs and settings. It provides guidance while still allowing people to pursue responsible data innovation.

At the center of this framework are the Responsible Data for Children principles, a series of seven values meant to guide a reader to understand the potential risks and benefits that can come with data use and ensure that the collection, analysis and use of data on children does not undermine these benefits. These principles are:

  • Participatory: Engaging and informing individuals and groups affected by the use of data for and about children.
  • Professionally Accountable: Operationalizing responsible data practices and principles by establishing institutional processes, roles, and responsibilities.
  • People-Centric: Ensuring the needs and expectations of children, their caregivers, and their communities are prioritized by actors handling data for and about them.
  • Prevention of Harms Across the Data Lifecycle: Establishing end-to-end data responsibility by assessing risks during the collecting, storing, preparing, sharing, analyzing, and using stages of the data life cycle.
  • Proportional: Aligning the breadth of data collection and duration of data retention with the intended purpose.
  • Protective of Children’s Rights: Recognizing the distinct rights and requirements for helping children develop to their full potential.
  • Purpose-Driven: Identifying and specifying why the data is needed and how the intended or potential benefits relate to improving children’s lives.

Given the importance of these principles, we want others to understand what they are and how they can be realized in a short, easily digestible format.

Each week, we will publish a blog on one of the RD4C principles. These pieces will demonstrate the principle through a real-world example as well as the challenges that organizations faced in pursuing it. We’ll also include some useful resources that can help organizations pursue each principle in their own work.

Make sure to visit the RD4C blog site weekly to catch these publications! We hope it provides you with the support you need.

Image credit: Piero Olliaro

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