Years ago in a discussion about digital ethics with my manager, she framed it as ‘it’s humanitarian accountability 2.0’. As always, she was on to something and it shapes my thinking to this day. But, in addition to humanitarian accountability 2.0, it’s humanitarian access 2.0, and good governance 2.0, all wrapped together.
The lens of accountability highlights the rights of those we seek to serve and our approach. It demands we consider our ‘duty of care’ to those we work with and asks ‘who are we leaving out?’ It demands we build literacy, create awareness, and offer viable alternative choices.
The lens of access moves us beyond thinking access is only physical, to highlighting the question of ‘who has access to the data?’ And it demands we enable access for those we seek to serve (data portability). But also preventing access to digital data for aggressive actions and purposes beyond what the data was collected for.
The lens of good governance highlights the critical need to make the distinction between experimentation and practice in technology. And acknowledges access and accountability are governance challenges. And that these challenges are not just ‘out there’ but inside our organisations too. That ring fencing some of our own datasets and giving them separate governance structures can simultaneously reduce our risk, improve our impact, and improve agency of those we seek to serve.
Reframing the lens through which we look provides fresh insights and enables change.
What lens will you look through today?