For those of you who have used Google drive or Sharepoint, you’ll be familiar with the access request. Someone (or you) shares a file with you and when you try to open it, you’re informed you do not have access to it. Often there is also the opportunity to send a ‘request for access’ to the file owner.

Sometimes it’s annoying. Other times it’s a saving grace.

In one way, this is one aspect of what we mean by ‘putting people at the centre of data management’ could look like. Not that the person’s data would be housed in Microsoft or Google or even some NGO. But rather that is housed somewhere and the access to it is controlled by the person about whom the data is. AND that person themselves actually have access to the data as well. And just like with files, the person would be able to see who has access and reject that access if they choose.

Sometimes this would be annoying. Other times it would be a saving grace.

And yes, this would require a certain level of literacy (digital and linguistic) for everyone involved. It also would require a means for the person to receive notifications and of granting organisations access. But perhaps this is what would should be doing anyway? None of the humanitarian prinicples talk about us, as humanitarian agencies, being the ones in control. Perhaps it’s time to live them out in data management.

Photo by Phil


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