Governing digital risks in humanitarian action

Panel details

Panel organiser(s) will be presenting In-Person & Online
Number of paper presentations 4


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Digital technologies like mobiles, social media, biometric devices, mobile money, debit-type cards, wearables, drones, big data and AI carry significant potential for enhancing the capacity of humanitarian agencies. Yet, in the context of humanitarian crises the reliance on digital systems and data involves substantial risks. These include the compromising of sensitive personal information and the exposure of vulnerable persons to danger (such as political surveillance or persecution), but also new biases in decision-making, the reduction of people to ‘digital bodies’ and the extraction of their personal data for commercial purposes. While these digital risks partly are new, they also manifest 'offline' vulnerabilities and asymmetric power relations. Which responsibilities do these risks come with? When do digital technologies increase vulnerability? And how do humanitarian agencies, private actors and donors currently manage the risks?

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