Toward Responsible Data Re-Use for COVID-19 in New York City
Posted on 21st of October 2020 by Andrew Zahuranec, Andrew Young
The Data Assembly is an initiative from The GovLab supported by the Henry Luce Foundation to solicit diverse, actionable public input on data re-use for crisis response in the United States. We invite you to share your comments and suggestions on our preliminary report here by Friday, October 30th.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had enormous social, political, cultural, and human costs. A variety of solutions — from increased testing capacity to social and economic support measures — have been deployed in recent months. Yet, the situation still stands to be improved and can be through the expanded use of data.
Effective and responsible data re-use can help policymakers and practitioners provide relief to those affected by the pandemic. The GovLab has identified over 300 data re-use projects addressing various dimensions of the ongoing crisis. However, there is still significant work to be done in order to maximize its value for addressing emerging issues. In March 2020, The GovLab shared A Call For Action to make data collaboration more systematic, sustainable, and responsible in light of COVID-19.
With support from The Henry Luce Foundation, The GovLab launched The Data Assembly to pioneer a new methodology re-imagining how we engage society in creating ideas for data re-use. The Data Assembly aims to collect and synthesize actionable, diverse, public input to identify concerns, expectations, and opportunities in data-driven response to COVID-19. More importantly, it aims to identify the necessary conditions and procedures to enable responsible re-use for crisis response now and in the future.
As part of The Data Assembly, The GovLab hosted three mini-public deliberations this summer to understand the opportunities and risks involved in data re-use. The three respective mini-publics included:
Data holders and policymakers;
Civic rights and advocacy organizations; and
New Yorkers from across the five boroughs.
We facilitated these three mini-publics to engage stakeholders who represent specific interests and communities directly impacted by data re-use; to understand the perspectives of those driving policy and practice; and to engage members of the public at large who are often the intended beneficiaries and subjects of the data being re-used. Consultations for the first two groups involved 15–20 experts curated using the GovLab’s Smarter Crowdsourcing methodology. The New Yorkers Mini-Public deliberation featured 55 New York City residents, sourced through a random sampling methodology, with a focus on diversity across age, gender, income, and borough of residence.
Responsible Data Re-Use
The core output of the Data Assembly is a Responsible Data Re-Use Framework, which seeks to inform decision-makers on how best to re-use data to solve public problems. This draft framework seeks to inform if, when and how the re-use of personal data can be aligned with people’s expectations and societal values.