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Ethical Considerations in Re-Using Private Sector Data for Migration-Related Policy: A Practitioners’ Perspective

A new paper by IOM-GMDAC

Posted on 14th of November 2022 by Marzia Rango, Niklas Sievers, Liz Griesmer, Robert Trigwell, Damien Jusselme

The past decade has witnessed the rapid growth of non-traditional data (social media, mobile phones, satellite data, bank records, etc.) and their use in migration research and policy. While these data sources may be tempting and shed light on main migration trends, ensuring the ethical and responsible use of big data at every stage of migration research and policymaking is complex.

To this end, the IOM’s Global Data Institute (GDI) has released a new paper “Ethical Considerations in Re-Using Private Sector Data for Migration-Related Policy: A Practitioners’ Perspective.” This report takes stock of the ethical risks of using non-traditional data sources to inform migration-related policymaking and suggests practical safeguards for various stages during the data cycle. 

The report proposes seven key recommendations for decision-makers:

  • Assess the suitability of private sector data to serve their specific research interests and approach the private sector with a clear ask, purpose, tools and indicators. 
  • Perform due diligence checks of all involved partners and clarify stakeholders’ involvements (partnerships agreement, organisational values review, and current data security practices). 
  • Conduct a risk-benefit analysis for a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA). 
  • Craft policies for using or re-using data for research and how this can be differentiated from commercial research objectives. 
  • Define strategies to gain informed consent from data subjects. 
  • Build a framework for the partners’ roles and responsibilities. 
  • Create policies on data storage, sharing, and retention.

Watch an interview with Niklas Sievers, Data Innovation Analyst at IOM-GMDAC discussing the report.

Explore the full report here. For more information please contact:

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