We here at The Engine Room think that data and technology can play an important part in effective social change work. But we also get worried about how haphazardly data and technology is used by social change organisations. So we spend considerable energy building responsible data practices into our work, and supporting partners to do the same. Not only do we discuss responsible data challenges in events and online fora, we also support other organisations to tackle them, share what we learn in the course of facing them, and play an active role in the Responsible Data Forum, a community we kickstarted in 2013.
So, how do we practice responsible data?
- We put people first in our projects
- We have an internal data sharing policy that makes it clear when, how, and with what consent we can share data with others
- We use and support open source technology
- We incorporate responsible data support when working with partners to design and implement projects
- We make our sources of revenue transparent so that others can determine if there are any conflicts they may have in working with us
- When we collect data about people or organisations we communicate clearly about that collection to allow for informed consent and an opt-in process
- We do not collect data about people, organizations, or activities that we do not have clear intent to use productively
- We invest core resources to actively participate in and facilitate the responsible data community of practice
- We set high operational security standards for our team, and provide them with the support they need to meet them
What does the Responsible Data Forum do?
The Responsible Data Forum identifies intersections of emerging tactics and challenges facing social change organizations who are incorporating data and technology into their work. Our activities in the RDF include:
- Partnering with others to hold Issue-specific forums on topics ranging from responsible data visualization to crowdsourcing and consent
- Moderating a discussion list with over 400 practitioners regularly discussing, debating and sharing direct experiences in incorporating responsible data strategies in their work
- Producing and sharing a newsletter Mission: Responsible twice a month
You can find more about RDF events, responsible data thought leadership from RDF partners, and resources developed in the course of RDFs at the Responsible Data Forum website.