In today’s growing digital landscape, everyday activities generate massive amounts of data that can be monitored, analysed, and optimised. This datafication of society has implications on social justice and human rights: while some benefit from access to and representation in digital systems, these can also mask existing injustices and bar others from fully participating in society.
Broadly, the concept of data justice refers to a fair and just approach in dealing with digital data, particularly in how people are made visible and represented in the process. How this concept is understood varies in different contexts, and there is a need to fill the gap in data justice research to include perspectives from unheard or underrepresented voices.
In this episode of Pretty Good Podcast, research consultant Dr Diani Citra and EngageMedia Digital Rights Program Officer for Indonesia Pradipa Rasidi expound on the idea of data justice as it relates to Indonesia and the Philippines. Rooting discussions in a new report on the technopolitics of data justice, the researchers discuss how civil society, technology groups, and affected communities in both countries understand data justice, as informed by their lived experiences, as well as the paths forward for future research and data governance strategies.
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- Data justice interrogates the forces that inform data production to understand how these affect the way people are represented and made visible in the production and analysis of data. Read more about the connection between digital rights and data justice in this research article.
- EngageMedia is one of the Alan Turing Institute’s policy pilot partners for the Advancing Data Justice Research and Practice (ADJRP) project, which aims to fill the gap in data justice research to include testimonies from underrepresented voices. As part of this collaboration, EngageMedia conducted interviews and workshops with stakeholders in Indonesia and the Philippines.
- Read EngageMedia’s report entitled “The Techno-politics of Data Justice in Indonesia and the Philippines”.
- Read the reports from other policy pilot partners, which draw from over 120 interviews and 12 workshops conducted across five continents, on this page.
- EngageMedia’s work on artificial intelligence (AI) documents the impact of AI systems in Southeast Asia – from its benefits and uses, to its complications and dangers.
- In the episode, Dr Citra and Adip discuss how the concept of “civic entrepreneurialism” underpins the development and societal acceptance of technologies deemed to be locally made. Because of the emphasis on nationalism, people tend to ignore the social problems and inequalities that may be exacerbated on the ground. Read more about the concept here.
- One of the research informants, scholar AA, attributed his open acceptance of digital technology – despite its privacy issues – to his upbringing during Indonesia’s authoritarian “New Order” era. Learn more about Indonesia’s authoritarian regime and history here.
- “Culture industry”, a term coined by critical theorists Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, describes how popular culture functions like a factory in producing standardised products designed to preserve the status quo.
- Who should be responsible for avoiding data injustices and improving data governance? Diani says this remains a tricky discussion: while giving private entities and Big Tech companies stronger powers pose significant risks, the government is generally not wholly trusted to take full control (owing to Indonesia and the Philippines’ shared history of authoritarian rule). A public-private partnership model is in place, but the creation and implementation of regulations for data practices remains murky.
- Following on from the research, EngageMedia advocates practicing digital hygiene as one of the ways to exercise agency over our use of technology. Check out the following resources to learn more about improving your online security: