The Urgent Need to Reimagine Data Consent

Article by Stefaan G. Verhulst, Laura Sandor & Julia Stamm: “Recognizing the significant benefits that can arise from the use and reuse of data to tackle contemporary challenges such as migration, it is worth exploring new approaches to collect and utilize data that empower individuals and communities, granting them the ability to determine how their data can be utilized for various personal, community, and societal causes. This need is not specific to migrants alone. It applies to various regions, populations, and fields, ranging from public health and education to urban mobility. There is a pressing demand to involve communities, often already vulnerable, to establish responsible access to their data that aligns with their expectations, while simultaneously serving the greater public good.

We believe the answer lies through a reimagination of the concept of consent. Traditionally, consent has been the tool of choice to secure agency and individual rights, but that concept, we would suggest, is no longer sufficient to today’s era of datafication. Instead, we should strive to establish a new standard of social license. Here, we’ll define what we mean by a social license and outline some of the limitations of consent (as it is typically defined and practiced today). Then we’ll describe one possible means of securing social license—through participatory decision -making…(More)”.