IGF 2022 WS #424 How can data justice be realised ​​practically?

Friday, 2nd December, 2022 (10:45 UTC) - Friday, 2nd December, 2022 (11:45 UTC)

Organizer 1: Civil Society, African Group
Organizer 2: Civil Society, African Group

Speaker 1: Birhane Abeba , Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Jeni Tennison, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Anita Gurumurthy, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Round Table - Circle - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. How can existing community governance frameworks inform collective data governance frameworks? 2. Which institutions or entities should either be established or entrusted to ensure the power and responsibilities over community data are exercised in an equitable manner? 3. What are the gaps in existing governance frameworks which are inhibiting the actioning of data justice? What opportunities exist for action data justice?

Connection with previous Messages: During the 2021 forum, Research ICT Africa hosted a workshop titled: Data justice: What is to be done? Some of the calls to action included the need for the global community to shift the global digital agenda towards identifying new modes of governance (and infrastructures) which enable the equal distribution of benefits within the data economy. This session builds on that discussion, and the proceeding work undertaken by Research ICT Africa in the months after the IGF session.


1. No Poverty
5. Gender Equality
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities

Targets: The intensifying process of datafication compounded by digitalisation has the potential (and we've seen evidence of this) to exacerbating inequalities. If current systematic regulatory/governance intervention are not revised these exclusions can only get worse compounding the inequalities identified in the SDGs - gender, inequality between countries etc. Data, if governed with the structural and systemic inequalities in mind has the potential to empower marginalised groups who are often disempowered.


Data-driven technologies have increasingly permeated every area of life, transforming key sectors and industries as well as introducing new societal challenges. From within the literature and practice developed on data governance to respond to these developments, data justice scholarship emerged highlighting the complex interplays between the intensifying datafication of society and social justice. It sought to counter data-driven discrimination advocating for greater equity in the presence and respresentation of people as a result of the production of their digital data (Taylor, 2017 and Dencik, 2022). One line of inquiry which built on these scholarly foundations to extend the concept of data justice from the realm of political rights to economic and cultural rights addresses the fact that scholarship and practice has largely developed on the basis of the protection of the rights of individual data-subjects. This is without much consideration of collective rights and values, or of the rights of those excluded from willfully participating in these systems. Among other things, the relation of individual rights to other rights, communal and collective will be explored in this session. The main objective of the roundtable will be to identify ways in which to translate these concepts of data justice into actionable frameworks across socio-economic, and political spheres to remedy the uneven distribution of opportunities and harms arising from data-driven value creation, both private and public. The conversation will be framed from a global south perspective where data injustices at local or national levels are compounded by challenges of global exclusions.

Expected Outcomes

This roundtable will form part of an ongoing research-to-policy influence process which is mapping out and developing new understandings on how to action data justice. The expected outcome include but are not limited to: (i) identify participatory practices which can influence data governance (ii) learn from participants and speakers of the collective decision making data governance examples, as well as the challenges faced. (iii) promote and advocate for an approach (among experts, practitioners and policymakers) to data governance which centers both collective economic rights around data while advancing socio-cultural rights of data dependents. (iv) build a community of experts to action data justice in their respective sectors/industries/policy areas.

Hybrid Format: As data justice will have different approaches depending on the sector, geolocation, political power or community priorities - the discussion will be guided by a somewhat real life scenario analysis. The roundtable will be divided into three components, each starting with provocations from an expert to guide the discussions. There will also be a number of open chairs for people to occupy and vacate following their input at each session.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.