IGF 2022 Networking Session #72 Social protection and data justice: how datafied social policies impact citizens' privacy and data protection in the Global South?

Fernanda K. Martins - InternetLab director, civil society organization, Latin American, Brazil;
Alice Lana, InternetLab head of research, civil society, Latin American, Brazil;
Bárbara Simão - InternetLab head of research, civil society organization, Latin American, Brazil;
Clarice Tavares - InternetLab head of research, civil society organization, Latin American, Brazil.


Mariana Valente - Universität St.Gallen professor, academia, Europe
Soujanya Sridharan - Aapti Institute Research Analyst, civil society organization, Asia
Jamila Venturini - Derechos Digitales executive director, civil society organization, Latin America
Linnet Taylor, Tilburg Law School, Netherlands, Europe
Debora Albu, Digital Inclusion at UN Women Brazil, Brazil, Latin America

Onsite Moderator

Fernanda K. Martins

Online Moderator

Clarice Tavares


Bárbara Simão


1. No Poverty
10. Reduced Inequalities
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: The datafied social protection programs that will be the object of the discussion are directly linked to inequality and poverty in developing countries. In this way, the roundtable is related to topics 1 and 10. Despite being policies that intend, in a certain way, to reduce inequality and poverty in developing countries, they do also have problems. There is a lack of transparency related to the data collection and data processing in government registries for social programs. The roundtable aims to discuss this issue and, more specifically, how this data is processed and how the lack of transparency about it can lead to the reinforcement of inequalities, the violation of privacy and the increase of surveillance by the State, relating, therefore, also with topics 16 and 17.



Duration (minutes)



In an increasingly datafied world, the use of personal data to access essential services and exercise your fundamental rights becomes an increasingly frequent reality. The collection and processing of data, in several countries, are part of a public policy to identify beneficiaries, categorize them and allow access to the most diverse types of public services: from social assistance and health, to civil identification. When considering the different realities, vulnerabilities and specificities of each of the people who use essential public services, the data collection and processing practices for the purpose of access have direct implications for social justice. These implications include the different inequalities for data collection and data typing - considering the inequalities of access and quality of technologies; and also the consequences of datafication itself - such as vigilantism and privacy risks.
To understand the phenomenon of the impacts of the datafied welfare policies, an study field entitled “data justice” was developed. Cases such as the Bolsa Família Program in Brazil and Aadhar in India have shown that these datafied welfare policies can have an impact over beneficiaries’ right to privacy. By giving the government their data, applicants can find themselves on a surveillance net, subject to scrutiny and interrogations, as well as many forms of violations. When it comes to historically marginalized populations such as women, people of color, poor people, LGBT, etc., these risks are even greater. Our proposal aims to discuss the implications of data processing in social policies on the right to privacy and the right to informational self-determination in the Global South. Using the data justice framework, the main goals of this panel will be (i) to discuss, from different perspectives, how and to what extent socio-economic vulnerability and access to social benefits can undermine the privacy of women and economically vulnerable by possibly subjecting them to civil and state surveillance and (ii) to discuss how to reconcile better the execution of welfare policies with beneficiaries’ right to privacy and data protection.

How will you facilitate interaction between onsite and online speakers and attendees?

To facilitate interaction between onsite and online speakers, online speakers should be put in a Zoom room, while the onsite speakers should be recorded live, so that the online speakers can view and interact with onsite speakers. As for the onsite attendees, an onsite co-organizer should be responsible for collecting any questions, doubts or appointments from them and passing them to the roundtable onsite moderator. For the online attendees, the creation of an online form to collect questions, doubts and appointments should be made available at the time of the event, through the platform on which the roundtable will be streamed, to allow better interaction with online and onsite speakers. The questions collected through the form should be passed from an online co-organizer to an online moderator.
How will you design the session to ensure the best possible experience for online and onsite participants?
The ideal design for the session would be (i) a roundtable for onsite speakers; (ii) a projector on the onsite event so that onsite attendees can visualize online speakers and (iii) a camera that can record and stream online the onsite speakers so that online attendees can visualize them.

Please note any complementary online tools/platforms you plan to use to increase participation and interaction during the session.

Zoom (for online speakers), projector (so onsite attendees can visualize online speakers), camera (to live record onsite speakers) and computers that will make possible the live record and stream of onsite speakers.