OD Mekong Blog: “Considering Indigenous rights in the open data and technology space is a relatively new concept. Called “Indigenous Data Sovereignty” (IDS), it is defined as “the right of Indigenous peoples to govern the collection, ownership, and application of data about Indigenous communities, peoples, lands, and resources”, regardless of where the data is held or by whom. By default, this broad and all-encompassing framework bucks fundamental concepts of open data, and asks traditional open data practitioners to critically consider how open data can be used as a tool of transparency that also upholds equal rights for all…
Four main areas of concern and relevant barriers identified by participants were:
Self-determination to identify their membership
- National governments in many states, particularly across Asia and South America, still do not allow for self-determination under the law. Even when legislation offers some recognition these are scarcely enforced, and mainstream discourse demonises Indigenous self-determination.
- However, because Indigenous and ethnic minorities frequently face hardships and persecution on a daily basis, there were concerns about the applicability of data sovereignty at the local levels.
Intellectual Property Protocols
- It has become the norm in the everyday lives of people for big tech companies to extract data in excessive amounts. How do disenfranchised communities combat this?
- Indigenous data is often misappropriated to the detriment of Indigenous peoples.
- Intellectual property concepts, such as copyright, are not an ideal approach for protecting Indigenous knowledge and intellectual property rights because they are rooted in commercialistic ideals that are difficult to apply to Indigenous contexts. This is especially so because many groups do not practice commercialization in the globalized context. Also, as a concept based on exclusivity (i.e., when licenses expire knowledge gets transferred over as public goods), it doesn’t take into account the collectivist ideals of Indigenous peoples.
- Ultimately, data protection is about protecting lives. Having the ability to use data to direct decisions on Indigenous development places greater control in the hands of Indigenous peoples.
- National governments are barriers due to conflicts in sovereignty interests. Nation-state legal systems are often contradictory to customary laws, and thus don’t often reflect rights-based approaches.
Consent — Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)
- FPIC, referring to a set of principles that define the process and mechanisms that apply specifically to Indigenous peoples in relation to the exercise of their collective rights, is a well-known phrase. They are intended to ensure that Indigenous peoples are treated as sovereign peoples with their own decision-making power, customary governance systems, and collective decision-making processes, but it is questionable as to what level one can ensure true FPIC in the Indigenous context.²
- It remains a question as too how effectively due diligence can be applied to research protocols, so as to ensure that the rights associated with FPIC and the UNDRIP framework are upheld….(More)”.