Defining Sensitive Data Starts with Empathy

by | Jan 15, 2020 | ICT4D |

A light dusting of snow is still acceptable bicycle riding weather for many Canadians, but a dusting of snow shuts down the UK.  A foot or two of snow will cause havoc in Toronto, while being perceived as a light dusting in other parts of Canada. A summer day reaching into the high 20s is a heat wave in the UK, while a cool day in most countries along the equator.

Weather is relative. It is classified and experienced differently depending on where you are and your experience. Many things in life are this way, including what we consider ‘sensitive’. This is why it is so critical to involve the community with whom we work in defining what is sensitive data. They will have a different opinion and view to us. This should be expected, planned for, and be listened to.

We don’t need hard universal definitions; we need empathy and a willingness to listen. What is sensitive is relative, so we need to find out how those we seek to serve define it.

Photo by Muukii


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